A former council officer whose job included safeguarding children was caught with indecent images.
Jeffrey Leib, 50, who had worked for Watford and Harrow councils as a licensing manager, was arrested on July 9 last year when the police raided his Croxley Green home.
His computer was examined, and he was found to have one Category A image – the highest level. There were two at Category B and 10 at Category C, the least serious level.
Prosecutor Neil King told St Albans Crown Court that Leib was also found to have sent a Category C image of a topless 12-year-old girl by email to a hotmail account.
He had used search terms such as: “Illegal, underage, amateur under age teen fun.”
When arrested, he made no comment to police questions.
Leib appeared for sentence having pleaded guilty to three counts of making (downloading) indecent images and one of distribution of indecent images. He had no previous convictions.
Bill Maley, defending, said Leib had been accessing adult pornography late at night when he downloaded the images of children.
He said: “He has shown remorse and understands the trauma caused to the children in these cases.
“He has lost his job and now earns a reduced wage. He is in debt and owes his brother £9,000. He has £11,000 in loans and credit card debts and has made a legal aid contribution of £8,000. He has had to take out a second mortgage.”
Mr Maley said: “He was a pillar of the community: a local authority licensing officer for 23 years.
“He had a statutory duty to safeguard children, to regulate strip clubs and lap dancing venues.”
Since his arrest, he said Leib had sought help from the Lucy Faithfull Foundation – a charity that is dedicated to preventing child sexual abuse.
Judge Philip Grey told him: “The search terms showed you had a clear interest in child pornography. The images are appalling.”
He said Leib had brought all the consequences down on his own head.
The judge passed a 12 month jail sentence suspended for two years. Leib must carry out 240 hours’ unpaid work and attend 40 days of a rehabilitation activity requirement.
He must abide by the terms of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order and Register as a Sex Offender for 10 years. His laptop, mobile phone and computer tower were forfeit.