A MAN who searched for hundreds of images of child abuse online has walked away from court with a community order.
Aaron Kuempel, formerly of Chelford and now of Hunters View, Handforth, had pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to three counts of making indecent photographs of children aged between seven and 13 years old, along with a further charge of possessing a prohibited image of a child.
The 23-year-old was handed a three-year community order – along with a requirement to complete rehabilitation and group sessions – by Judge Tina Landale at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court on Friday.
The court heard how Kuempel, who has learning difficulties, was caught by police with access to 173 category C images, 134 category B and 246 category A – the latter being the most serious offence.
Daniel Gaskell, defending, said: “This is a case of a socially isolated young man who, because of the conditions he suffers from, found himself on his own, seeking increasingly disturbing images and without really being able to assess quite the harm that is created.
“The prosecution makes reference to a lack of empathy. What these proceedings have done is enable him to assess his situation.
“He has come to terms with the issues in his life and is determined to work with those who can offer him support.
“He would not receive any sufficient assistance in the prison system in terms of rehabilitation. He is someone who can follow directions and will follow any order.”
Sentencing Kuempel, Judge Landale ordered him to sign the sex offenders' register for five years and also said that a seven-year sexual harm prevention order (SHPO) would be necessary to protect the public from his ‘deep-seated’ interest in children.
She said: “From the information that you have provided to the doctor and probation service, it is clear that you didn’t believe that there was anything wrong with looking at little children being raped and abused by adults.
“That is something that you must understand is totally wrong. Little children need protection from adults. They are not there to be raped and sexually touched by grown-ups.
“The only reason I impose that rather than imprisonment is because everything I have bene led to believe today indicates that you are willing to change your behaviour. If I am wrong then you would be in breach of that order.
“I promise you today that if you commit a further offence I will revoke this order and send you to prison.”
Kuempel will also be prevented from subscribing to any online sharing platforms for the duration of the SHPO.