Housemaster who visited Pedoland jailed

BY JODY O'CALLAGHAN
Last updated 11:32 05/02/2009

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The housemaster of a co-ed boarding school has been sent to prison after being caught in an international internet child porn crackdown.

Richard Anthony Campbell, 41 - who gave up his hostel position immediately - had more than 300 movies and images of underage girls seized by Internal Affairs on March 12 last year.

About 20 movies and 62 images of girls between the ages of 8 and 15 in explicit sexual acts and poses were deemed objectionable.

He pleaded guilty to eight charges and was sentenced to seven months' imprisonment in Palmerston North District Court yesterday.

The well-dressed Campbell stood in the dock with this head down throughout the hearing.

Prosecutor for Internal Affairs, Ben Vanderkolk, said when inspectors went to his school accommodation to seize the computer equipment, he told them he had had a problem with an interest in underage girls since about 2003.

But Campbell, found to be a member of the site Pedoland, also said that he in no way harmed any young girls.

"Every time images are viewed and downloaded or accessed in some way the abuse is compounded," Mr Vanderkolk argued.

Campbell was identified by an internet protection centre through British police when they discovered a website with more than 11,000 images and movies of children being sexually abused in 2007.

His name was forwarded, along with other New Zealanders, to Internal Affairs.

Defence lawyer Mike Ryan argued that the amount of material Campbell was charged over was not as large as many other similar cases before the court.

He had been receiving counselling since last year, had no previous convictions, and was hoping for home detention at his parents' Rotorua home, he said.

But Judge Gregory Ross said looking at the volume of material between cases was like "comparing like with like".

"There is a public abhorrence and repugnance in child porn . . . exploitation of children over a long period of time."

Although it was said he never compromised the safety of the school children under his care, he was unsuitable in a situation of that kind, Judge Ross said.

It was people like him who kept the child porn market functioning.

An order was made to destroy his computer equipment.

The school was not named to protect its privacy.

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- Manawatu Standard

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