17 Sep 2008

Former Mormon Bishop jailed for child porn


News Shopper - UK    September 16, 2008

by Court Reporter



A FORMER Mormon bishop has been sentenced to three-and-a-half years in jail after police found more than 24,000 indecent images of children on a family computer.


Gerald Tapp

Gerald Tapp, of Spencer Street, Gravesend, admitted 34 charges of making, distributing and possessing indecent images of children.

Police also found the 56-year-old had 948 movie stills.

Maidstone Crown Court heard on September 12 how Tapp had filmed up the skirts of schoolgirls at a school where he worked as a design technician and police had found video footage of children in Gravesend town centre.

Tapp handed himself into police after his wife Jenny confronted him about his use of the internet.

Prosecutor Lucy Luttman said Tapp was seen viewing porn sites and also having online conversations with a 12-year-old girl called "Jessica".

She said Tapp had accessed the internet and found he could create a persona and be someone else.

This became like an addiction for him.

Tapp, who was formerly a bishop in the Mormon church, had images and movies of children ranging from six months to 12 years old.

Alistair Keith, mitigating, said: "He accepts he must be punished."

Judge Philip Statman told Tapp: "You had no understanding of what your victims had suffered."

In a statement released by police, Mrs Tapp said: "It came as a great shock to me that my husband was involved in this activity, as I was totally unaware of his actions.

"Once I began to have suspicions, I spoke to him and persuaded him to hand himself in to police and make a full confession of his crimes.

"I do not condone his despicable actions."

After Tapp handed himself into police on March 28, officers tried to trace "Jessica".

Tapp's mobile phone was used to trace the girl, who turned out to be a 33-year-old man called Jonathon Wales.

Wales, from Croydon, was found to have more than 1,000 indecent images of children on his laptop and a USB drive.

Ms Luttman told the court Wales had previously been jailed on charges involving indecent images.

The court heard he was annoyed people were getting away with crimes he had been punished for, so he decided to waste the time of around 15 men.

Wales admitted 38 charges of making, distributing and possessing indecent images.

He was also given a three-and-a-half-year jail term.

Both men were put on the Sex Offenders' Register and banned from working with children.

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