Teacher loses job over child abuse material stash
A CAIRNS high school English teacher who lost his job when he was busted with multiple videos of child exploitation material has dodged serving any time behind bars.
Mark Adam Tate, 39, who taught at Woree State High School, had his house raided by police in April 2018 with officers finding illicit videos of child exploitation material among thousands of files of legal pornography.
However the Cairns District Court heard much of the legal porn was "morally questionable" and featured videos of older teenagers with titles such as "barely legal".
Police also confirmed he had searched the word "Lolita" online.
Crown prosecutor Nicole Friedewald told the court there were 19 illegal videos which featured three young girls - one who was clearly under 16 - dancing seductively in various states of undress.
She said police analysis of the computer tower found he had watched the videos three days prior to their raid and they remained saved.
"He was a high school teacher at the time which is a relevant factor," she said.
Tate had pleaded guilty to one count of possession of child exploitation material.
The court heard legislation around this type of offending was only strengthened on Tuesday, meaning an offender must serve actual time behind bars except in exceptional circumstances.
Defence barrister Michael Dalton argued this case was an exception.
He told the court two psychologists had rated him a low risk of reoffending and said the material was on the lower end of seriousness - featuring one sequence broken into 19 videos.
He said Tate, a father of two young children, had no criminal history, had sought help, had lost his career and was the source of public shaming.
Judge Dean Morzone concurred and handed him a nine-month jail term, fully suspended after 18 months.
He said Tate "ought now appreciate the dangerous world you become part of".
"Behind that camera lens corrupts and physically harms young children," he said.
"As a consequence of your behaviour your reputation has been destroyed.
"(You have been) ostracised and marginalised within the small community you live."
The court heard that Tate had originally trained and worked as an aircraft engineer before studying to become a teacher, only starting that job in 2017.
*For 24-hour sexual violence support call the national hotline 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or MensLine on 1800 600 636.
Originally published as 'Reputation destroyed': Teacher sentenced for child porn