Sex offender claims he has an 'illness'

A FORMER teacher has told how he was arrested by police after he sought medical help for his sexual interest in children.

Laurence Cawley

A FORMER teacher has told how he was arrested by police after he sought medical help for his sexual interest in children.

Alastair Robson was given a 26 week suspended sentence for two years at Ipswich Crown Court after he admitted 12 counts of making indecent images of children and one charge of possessing indecent images of children.

The offences were committed over a 10 year period by Robson, formerly of Kedington near Haverhill.

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Sentencing Robson, Judge John Devaux said: “The unusual factor in this case is that it came to the attention of the police purely because of your disclosure to a care professional. I feel that it would be unhelpful to others to give you a custodial sentence because they should not think that if they seek help they will immediately be imprisoned.”

Following the case the 44-year-old, who has lost his career, his friends, his home and who now faces bankruptcy, has now spoken out about his illness and called for the criminal justice system to offer more help to those seeking treatment but who have not crossed the line into actually abusing children themselves.

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His sexual interest in children began during his mid 30s following the break-up of a long-term relationship. Describing his decision to seek help, Robson, who had until that time enjoyed a very successful career in teaching at schools outside of Suffolk, said: “I had had enough of the urges. I was a teacher and it was obviously conflicting with my ability as a professional.

“There's a line that you do not cross and I never crossed it. But you cannot completely block out paraphilia and it started to affect my thoughts and concentration. I decided enough was enough. I don't think I would have acted on any of my impulses but it was incredibly distressing and my first step was to move from a secondary school to a college thinking things would be better.

“It wasn't any better and I went off with stress and I tried to find help - the cost of doing so was being arrested.

“The criminal justice system isn't designed to manage the problem, it does, in fact, contribute to it because it does not encourage people to find help.”

The upshot of 16 hours spent with a psychosexual therapist was being advised to watch pornography featuring people over the age of 20. That, he said, was not much of a solution to his problem, a problem he recognised as “abnormal” from the outset.

He said: “I don't know what triggered it. It was a combination of things. It was something about which I was very anxious because I knew it was abnormal, highly contentious and potentially dangerous. It is a curse you have to carry with you.”

As part of his sentence, Robson will receive therapy on a weekly basis and he hopes being able to talk about his condition will help lessen the urges he has.

Robson describes his condition as “deviant” and says it was “quite right” that those who harm children should be jailed but he warned that those who did not cross the line into abusing children and sought help should be given help.

Describing his situation after being sentenced, Robson said: “It is kind of day one. I've lost my house, I've got a mountain of debt but it could be worse - I could be on a park bench. I want to write a book about my condition - what else have I got? At least this gives me a focus in life and something to aim for.”

Robson will be on the sex offenders register for 10 years and barred from working with children for good.

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