Evin Daly, who heads One Child International, wrote to circuit court Judge Patricia Ryan, who earlier this month sentenced Adrian Savage, aged 48, who was caught downloading child porn in internet cafes in 2007 and in 2008. He was attending a clinical psychologist when he continued to access the material.
Mr Daly, who is from Ireland but is based in the US, said possession of child pornography is a clear indication of a sexual interest in children.
In his letter to Judge Ryan, he said called it “a red flag” for contact offences against children.
“The possession of images recording the rape and molestation of children is not a harmless crime, it is very much the opposite — each child depicted is a real person, a victim.”
Mr Daly pointed out that Mr Savage was a repeat offender.
“Treatment has a very low success rate with offenders and it has failed to make any impression on Mr Savage as he was back offending again soon afterwards.”
Mr Daly said child pornography is not a victimless crime enjoyed in the comfort of a private room.
“It is a demand–driven criminal activity that trades imagery for cash or in-kind trade, without regard of the consequences for the children,” he said.
Mr Savage had already received a three-year suspended sentence in 2004 after he pleaded guilty to two charges of possession of child pornography.
He pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court yesterday to three charges of possessing child pornography between September 15, 2007 and May 19, 2009.
Judge Ryan said she noted his two previous convictions for similar offences and he had undergone a treatment programme but re-offended. She said a custodial sentence was merited “to mark the seriousness of the case”.
The images were analysed by gardaí and found to contain 34,699 images and 460 movies, some depicting girls as young as two.