A senior priest at a prominent Catholic school was caught with more than a thousand perverse images of children and teenagers, some in the worst category known to authorities, an Australian court has heard.
In March, Father Stanislaus John Hogan, 69, pleaded guilty to one count of using a carriage service to access child p****graphy and one aggravated count of possessing child p****graphy.
In sentencing submissions today, the District Court heard police had seized a collection of videos, images and magazines of children aged between three months and 16 years in his bedroom at Saint Ignatius College at Athelstone, Australia in 2012.
However, The Advertiser has subsequently learned prosecutors mis-spoke, and that the youngest children depicted were three years of age.
The court heard about 70 per cent of the 1555 images and videos were of teenage boys but Hogan also had five images and two videos classified as category 5 — which is saved for the worst type of child exploitation material.
Sophie David, for Hogan, told the court that a psychologist report indicated her client’s offending had risen amid depression associated with reconciling his s*xual orientation with his religious beliefs.
“As a result of his offending he has lost his vocation, his financial means and of course his reputation and distinguished career as an educator has been indelibly stained,” she said.
She said some of the offending material had been bought in the 1970s and 1980s when it was not illegal.
She asked the court to consider suspending any jail sentence imposed against Hogan because he was undergoing steps to rehabilitate himself, was unlikely to reoffend and there was no suggestion any of the students had been exposed to the illicit material.
The court heard Hogan had been the school’s rector at the time of the raid and he had held prominent teaching positions throughout Australia, including at St Aloysius’ in Sydney and Xavier College in Melbourne, during the past three decades.
Prosecutor Scott Swain said he strongly opposed any suggestion of a suspended sentence and indicated there would be an appeal if Judge Peter Brebner were to do so.
“His main interest was boys of low to mid teenage years which I note was the very age range of the students attending the school where he was employed,” he said.
Judge Brebner remanded Hogan on continuing bail to be sentenced at later date.