Child abuse images professor set free after serving just nine months in prison
A perverted college professor jailed for possessing child sexual abuse images told a journalist he now fully accepts ‘child abuse imagery is wrong’.
A journalist confronted Gregory Fewer, a former lecturer at Waterford Institute of Technology, as he was released from the Midlands Prison on Monday after serving just nine months inside.
Fewer (51), who acted as an administrator of the now defunct paedophile discussion website ‘boylover.net’, was jailed in March after being convicted of possessing 27 images of child pornography and one written story about sex between two 13-year-old boys.
Hard-drives were seized from Fewer’s home in Corballymore, Dunmore East, Waterford and his office in WIT in 2011 but due to a delay in analysing the hardware, gardai didn’t arrest or initiate a prosecution against him until 2017.
Approached outside the Midlands Prison on Monday, Fewer confirmed he has been receiving treatment for paedophilia since the raids on his home and office nine years ago.
“I didn’t actually run the website but, anyway, I know I was down [as an administrator],” he told the journalist
“I did get treatment. I was getting counselling on the outside for a number of years before I was prosecuted.
“That started in 2011 so, in all, I’ve had nine years of counselling. I’ve been working at it.”
Asked whether he had any designs on returning to his work as a lecturer, Fewer responded: “No, I doubt that that will be happening. I still have to work out what I’m going to do.
“I just want to get on with my life now and get back to normality.”
Asked if he now accepted that the images he was found with were of real children and real harm was being done to them, Fewer responded: “Yes … I do accept that.”
Fewer, who handed over the passwords for his email accounts and websites after his arrest, was formally charged in 2018 and placed on leave by WIT.
After his hard-drives were examined, gardai discovered images of child abuse – all of which were in the most severe categories in terms of what they depicted.
Fewer was initially sentenced to two and a half years in prison but this was reduced to a year due to his co-operation with gardai and his ongoing engagement with counselling services.
A further 25 per cent reduction was applied to his sentence as standard remission.
Fewer was one of approximately 670 paedophiles identified worldwide as part of an international crackdown on internet child pornography in 2011.
Known as Operation Rescue, the complex international probe lasted three years, beginning in the UK with Europol later being brought in to support and coordinate investigations in 13 European countries to track offenders on a truly global scale.
The suspected child sex offenders were members of the online forum – boylover.net – that promoted sexual relationships between adults and young boys.
The website operated from a server based in the Netherlands and, at its height, boasted up to 70,000 members worldwide.
The website was taken down when police moved on suspects in 2011.
But when it operated, it attempted to operate as a ‘discussion-only’ forum where people could share their sexual interest in young boys without committing any specific offences, thereby operating ‘below the radar’ of police attention.
Having made contact on the site, some members would move to more private channels, such as email, to exchange and share illegal images and films of children being abused.
Computers seized from those arrested, including Fewer, later led to the discovery of huge quantities of child abuse images and videos.
At the start of the investigation, UK and Australian covert police internet teams infiltrated the boylover.net site to quickly identify those members who were assessed as posing the highest risk to children.
They also tracked the migration of offenders to other sites where further investigations and risk assessments continued.
In 2009, the UK’s Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre located the owner of the website and traced the server to Holland, involving the Zaanstreek-Waterland Police in the Netherlands and also bringing Europol into the investigation.
Between June 2008 and June 2009, Canadian, Italian, New Zealand and US law enforcement authorities all joined the investigation, as the scale of the international network became clear and suspects were identified in their jurisdictions.
In January 2010, a copy of the seized site’s server was received by Europol, and the Australian and UK police.
Working with Zaanstreek-Waterland Police in the Netherlands, Europol rebuilt the forum offline and forensically interrogated the server to produce intelligence analysis which was disseminated globally to law enforcement authorities.
By the operation’s conclusion, Europol had distributed 4,202 operational intelligence reports to 25 EU Member States and eight other countries.
Fewer, who used the name ‘rawspank’ to interact on the site was one of those identified in the Europol files.