Catholic church's Plymouth 'youth protector' had child porn
A CHURCH worker whose job was to protect young people from abuse had thousands of indecent pictures of children, a court heard.
Married father-of-four Christopher Jarvis, aged 49, advised the Roman Catholic Church in Plymouth how to keep youngsters safe but had more than 4,000 pornographic images of children, Plymouth Magistrates' Court was told.
Jarvis, who worked for the Catholic Diocese for nearly nine years, was caught when he uploaded five indecent images on to a social networking site.
Jarvis, of Salisbury Road, St Judes, admitted 12 counts of making, possessing and distributing indecent images.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, May 26 2013
The court was told that police found 3,927 Level 1 images, 258 Level 2 images, 38 Level 3 images, 146 Level 4 images and 10 level 5 images when they searched his home and work computers on March 23. Level 1 is the least serious image and Level 5 is the most serious.
Jarvis was immediately suspended from his job as safeguarding co-ordinator for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Plymouth and is no longer in post. It was said in court that he had access to sensitive information about vulnerable children in the Church but there was no evidence that he was directly involved in the abuse of children.
District Judge Paul Farmer ordered reports into his background before he is sentenced on August 19. He was warned his case could still be sent to Plymouth Crown Court.
Gareth Warden, for the Crown Prosecution Service, said a user of the social networking site Ning uploaded five Level 1 indecent images in June last year.
He added that monitors for the American-based site informed the police and an investigation began.
Mr Warden said Jarvis had created an account with an email address under a false name, but the account was traced to his current and former home addresses.
He added that police searched his home and found indecent images, including on the laptop he used for work.
Jodie Baker, for Jarvis, said he had been the victim of abuse. She said he was abused aged 11 by a family friend through a church social club.
Miss Baker said: "At the age of 16 or 17 he admitted to a priest that he had a homosexual encounter and he was then abused by that priest."
She added he had suffered depression and anxiety.
Miss Baker said he was married with four children but there was 'no suggestion' he had 'acted inappropriately' towards them.
She said that two suicide attempts which led to Jarvis being arrested and produced in custody were 'half-hearted' and a 'cry for help'.
The court heard he is staying with a friend in Keyham. He is of previous good character.
Mr Farmer released him on bail on condition he does not have any unsupervised contact with any child under 16.
David Pond, the independent chairman of the Plymouth Diocesan Safeguarding Commission, which oversees child protection and includes several agencies, said Jarvis had worked for the diocese as safeguarding co-ordinator since July 2002.
He said: "Mr Jarvis was suspended from his position as soon as the diocese became aware in March of the police investigation. The Bishop took that action and since then the Church has worked closely with the police. He is no longer employed by the diocese."
Jarvis's job involved advising churches and affiliated groups on child protection procedures and arranging training for workers. He also monitored offenders, including sex offenders, in churches and church groups.
DC Trevor Strike, the officer in the case, said: "At this stage there is no evidence there were any contact offences. As a force we will vigorously pursue any person who seeks to abuse children."