Theodore Francis Janssen
NZ Lawyer 18th May 2007
A retired art teacher has been jailed for eight months for possessing pornographic images on his computer of pre-pubescent children with adults, animals and urine. Theodore Francis Janssen, 73, was sentenced on 18 charges of possessing objectionable images today in Wellington District Court. Police seized his computer in December 2005 while they were investigating an indecent assault charge against him, which Janssen later pleaded guilty to. The superannuitant admitted touching a pupil's breast while he was an art teacher at a Wellington high school in 1982 and was sentenced to community work. On Janssen's seized computer police found 70,000 images on the hard drive, a large number of which were pornographic. Police sent 52 of the worst images, a limited sample, to be examined by the chief censor, who classified 21 of them as objectionable.
Janssen pleaded guilty to the charges, but said he had come across the images when he was legitimately searching for material to use in his art work.
He was a retired art teacher who could no longer afford to hire models, he said. His lawyer Tony Rickard-Simms said Janssen had only seen the objectionable material fleetingly, deleting it after he had found it. However, crown lawyer Nigel Stone said the idea that Janssen had visited the websites as part of a legitimate search for art material was "farcical". That Janssen deleted the files showed he knew he was doing something wrong and was covering his tracks, he said. In sentencing, Judge Bruce Davidson said Janssen's offending showed premeditation because a handwritten list of websites containing objectionable material was found next to his computer and a list of websites Janssen had visited showed he had been to some of the sites several times.
He said while Janssen would only be sentenced on the 18 charges, the huge number of images found on his computer were relevant because a large number of them were pornographic. "The primary aggravating factor is that these images can only be created by the exploitation of young children. Anyone who visits these sites, in their own little way is assisting in that exploitation." The judge said Janssen may have been acting legitimately initially, but had developed an interest in this kind of material. His only previous conviction for indecently assaulting his pupil took weight away from the defence's argument that Janssen's actions were legitimate, Judge Davidson said. He said it was not the worst material to come before the courts but Janssen's persistence and the number of charges justified a jail term. Janssen was jailed for eight months and denied leave to apply for home detention.
Date of Birth
1934 (D.O.B. is approximate)
Three Strikes Status
Sentenced to just 8 months in May 2007
Released September 2007
Additional Photos & Files
Associated Media Links Theodore Francis Janssen Appeal Notes
Sex offender can live near school
OFFENCES / CONVICTIONS
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