‘I Knew I Was Downloading Child Porn And I Still Did It’: An Online Sex Offender Speaks Out

‘I Knew I Was Downloading Child Porn And I Still Did It’: An Online Sex Offender Speaks Out

2 hours ago 0  Shares ‘I Knew I Was Downloading Child Porn And I Still Did It’: An Online Sex Offender Speaks Out Fri Mar 15 2019 17:13:18 GMT+0000 (GMT) Fri Mar 15 2019 18:50:31 GMT+0000 (GMT) Dominic Smithers Dominic Smithers in  News Powered by He was excelling at his job, earning lots of money…


Hewas excelling at his job, earning lotsofmoneyand had a large group of friends. To anyone looking in, he seemed to be a normal person.

It wasn’t until the police raided his home that his dark secret was finally revealed.

Over the course of two years, his hunger for more and more extreme pornography led him to the most depraved parts of the internet, downloading thousands of indecent images of children every day.

“I was in denial about where things were going, he says. “For me, around two years prior to the arrest, I had wanted to get access to larger and larger quantities of adultpornographyand I switched to a different type of downloadingprogramme– a peer to peer one used many years ago to download music.

“It had a huge amount of pornography available and I thought: ‘I’ve hit the jackpot – this is a much better way to build my collection!’ Lots of the files I would download would be blank or misnamed but a lot them contained some disturbing images that were obviously of children being sexually abused. “

Struggling with depression and anxiety, he claims his life had spiraledout of control, leadinghim to rely on alcohol, drugs, and hardcore pornography as coping mechanisms.

Yet despite all of this, he was still considered a model employee by his colleagues.

“All of this was a huge opportunity for escapism. I wasactually ableto excel at my work despite all this and was a rising star.

“I got promoted quickly several times, was bringing in a lot of money and was well respected in my field. But in order to sustain that I was relying on alcohol, drugs and internet pornography a lot more. I was using so much it was hard to find anything interesting. I wasdesensitised.

To his friends he was a normal guy, it was only when the police raided his home that his dark secret was revealed. Credit: PA
To his friends he was a normal guy, it was only when the police raided his home that his dark secret was revealed. Credit: PA

“There were lots of indecent images of children. I went through a few cycles of panicking, deleting, getting rid, but on the third or fourth time I thought to myself: ‘I know I’mgonnabe downloading some horrendous images and I’m still choosing to do this’. I remember that being a significant point.

Following his arrest, he had to admit to his mum – and eventually his boss – what he had done.

“She wasdevastated.I could tell she was really upset but was trying to be strong for my benefit. She was trying to be a mum and help her son. I appreciated that but was of the mindset: ‘my life is over now’.

“I knew I was going to be charged and convicted, I just didn’t know what with – what they were going to find. Once convicted of an offence I was legally contractually obliged to inform my employers. I was given the option to resign before that happened and that’s the option I chose. “

He added: “A major concern for me was this was going to go to court and there is a good chance this was going to go into the local newspapers. It could be online and if that happens, it’s going to spread and everyone will find out. That was my biggest fear.”

Ashamed, he evencontemplated suicide, coming close once, only to be saved at the last minute by an old friend.

There was only one particular instance where I was very, very close to taking some significant action,” he says.

“I got a phone call from someone I had not heard from for a while. Someone who I had told what had happened to me but was may be struggling with dealing with it, but then got back in touch.

He says his life spiraled out of control and extreme pornography was a way of coping. Credit: PA
He says his life spiraled out of control and extreme pornography was a way of coping. Credit: PA

That was may be hours before I was going to put my plan into action. I don’t know whether I would have gone through with it or whether it was that phone call that saved me. It scares me to think about it when I look back.”

When he was due to be sentenced,hepacked a bag ready for prison, resigned to the fact he would be locked up for years to come.

Butinstead hewasgiven a three year community order, put on the sex offenders register for five years and subject to a sexual harm order – which means police can monitor his computer and can visit him at any time.

Now a convicted sex offender, he says he can’t be sure he won’t relapse but he’s trying.

“I never thought I could get to the stage I did. Whilst I can’t imagine ever going back toitI can never say the chances are zero. I have to be vigilant and always staying aware about how I am dealing with things inlife.

The Home Office has today pledged £600,000 to the Lucy Faithfull Foundation to support its Stop It Now campaign and its dedicated child sexual abuse prevention helpline.

After being caught, the former businessman says he contemplated suicide. Credit: PA
After being caught, the former businessman says he contemplated suicide. Credit: PA

This year alone more than 2,000 offenders have contacted the charity in order to get the support to change their illegalbehaviour.

Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, said: “Child sexual abuse is a truly sickening crime and I’m committed to doing everything in my power to eradicate it from society.

“It’s vital we take action on a number of fronts. That’s why we have given police and prosecutors the tools they need to bring offenders to justice, are educating young people on how they can protect themselves and will be legislating to ensure tech giants are fulfilling their responsibilities to protect our children.

“But it is also important to focus on preventative measures that stop potential abusers from committing crimes in the first place. The Lucy Faithfull Foundation plays a key role in this work and has my full support.”

If you needsupportyou can contact the helpline on 0808 1000 900.

Featured Image Credit: PA

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Dominic Smithers

After graduating from Leeds University with a degree in French and History, Dom went onto gain an NCTJ journalism qualification. Since then he has worked as a reporter at the Manchester Evening News and the Macclesfield Express, covering breaking news, court, sports, and politics.

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