A British judge has drawn the ire of many by expressing her sympathy for a teacher found possessing thousands of indecent pictures of children.
Judge Mary Jane Mowat said: "I don't criticise you for being a teacher who's attracted to children.
"Many teachers are, but they keep their urges under control both when it comes to children and when it comes to images of children."
David Armstrong of Wiltshire, South West England, was caught after a colleague at the Little Heath School in Tilehurst, near Reading, Berks, reported him to police.
Reading Crown Court was told that the teaching assistant became alarmed after noticing files on Armstrong's laptop with names including "rape wife", "nude model" and "gay alligator."
Police arrested Armstrong and found 4,500 indecent images and videos on two laptops and an external hard drive. More than 300 of the images were in the two most serious categories, some involving children as young as two.
He admitted five charges of making indecent photographs or pseudo-photographs of children between 2007 and 2010. The court heard that some of the images were not of real children but Japanese cartoons depicting youngsters in sexual scenes.
Armstrong, a 63-yer-old substitute teacher, didn't exactly get away with it all. He was given 12-month jail sentences, suspended for two years, for each of five charges of making indecent photographs of children.
He was put on the Sex Offenders' Register for ten years, with a Sexual Prevention Order which bans him from owning a computer or device capable of connecting to the internet.
He was also automatically banned from working with children.
Still the judge's commiserating with the old man was found over the top by the media and by many observers.
Peter Bradley, of the children's charity Kidscape, said schools exist to provide a safe place for children to learn.
"This teacher should not have been in the profession and it is outrageous for the judge to say many teachers are sexually attracted to children,' he said. 'The message needs to be clear - if you are sexually attracted to children then you don't work with them."
Christine Blower, of the National Union of Teachers, said: "Teachers are professionals whose interest is ensuring children and young people achieve their educational potential.
"To suggest their interest in pupils could understandably be anything else is totally unacceptable."
Jayne Phillips, Senior Legal Advocate at the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, added: "It is a very worrying message to send out.
"The judge's comments do not reflect our knowledge of the UK's teaching staff - they would be appalled by the suggestion that they are in anyway attracted to children."