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School perv JAILED

PUBLISHED: 17:44 17 September 2008 | UPDATED: 10:07 23 August 2010

GUILTY: Tapp had internet images of child torture.

GUILTY: Tapp had internet images of child torture.

A FORMER Mormon bishop and teaching assistant has been jailed for three-and-half years after police found more than 24,000 indecent images of children on a family computer. Gerald Tapp, 56, of Spencer Street, Gravesend, was sentenced at Maidstone Crown C

A FORMER Mormon bishop and teaching assistant has been jailed for three-and-half years after police found more than 24,000 indecent images of children on a family computer.

Gerald Tapp, 56, of Spencer Street, Gravesend, was sentenced at Maidstone Crown Court after pleading guilty to 39 charges of making distributing and possessing indecent images of children.

The court heard last Friday how he handed himself into police after his daughter became suspicious, and told her mother. His wife Jenny then persuaded him to admit to his crimes.

Mrs Tapp said: "It came as a great shock to me that my husband was involved in this activity, as I was totally unaware of his actions.

"Once I began to have suspicions, I spoke to him and persuaded him to hand himself in to police and make a full confession of his crimes.

"I do not condone his despicable actions, and, after what has been a very difficult and upsetting time, my daughter and I are trying to start over and make a new life for ourselves, with the support of our family and friends."

Tapp, a design technician at Gravesend Grammar School for Girls, also had 948 movie stills on the computer and images of children aged between six months and 12- years-old, some showing the torture of babies. He was also found to have photos and video clips up the skirts of schoolgirls and girls in the town centre.

The court heard that his daughter discovered he had arranged to meet a 12-year-old girl called "Jessica" in the woods.

After Tapp handed himself in to police on March 28, officers traced Jessica to Jonathan Wales, 33, of Croydon, who was also sentenced at Maidstone Crown court last week.

He was found to have more than 1000 indecent images on his laptop and a USB Drive. He was also handed a three-and-a-half year jail term.

Both men were put on the Sex Offenders' Register and banned from working with children.

Detective Sergeant Samantha Mercer, from the Child Abuse Investigation Unit in north Kent led the investigation. She said: ""This was an especially vile case, and during the course of the investigation I viewed some of the most disturbing images I have seen in my career.

"I am pleased that the court recognised the seriousness of the crimes committed by Tapp and Wales and that they have been sentenced to significant time in prison for their actions."

ed.riley@archant.co.uk

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