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Catholic teachers nailed in child porn swoop

Child pornography charges were laid against two Catholic schoolteachers in Perth during a nationwide police operation announced yesterday.

Catholic Education director for WA, Ron Dullard, yesterday lamented the "massive breakdown in trust", saying it had caused a great deal of hurt among the school communities.

The two teachers, from St Brigid's Primary School in Middle Swan and Iona Presentation College in Mosman Park, were among a total of 24 people charged with child pornography offences as a result of police raids in WA.

A police officer and an assistant to a sitting MP, employed by the WA premier's own department, were also among those charged.

Mr Dullard told 6PR Radio: "We were contacted by police two days ago saying this was likely to occur but we needed to keep that under wraps because they were ongoing investigations and they didn't want that investigation at all compromised."

"The two teachers involved have been stood down immediately without pay and if the charges are proven they will be dismissed immediately for serious misconduct and their registration as teachers ... will be opposed."

Iona school principal Margaret Herley described the arrest of the Year 12 teacher in connection with a child pornography ring as a sad occasion. She said the man's family would be kept in her prayers.

"Our own and police investigations have confirmed that this material was downloaded in the teacher's home and did not involve college computers of our system, which is highly protected," Ms Herley said.

WA premier 'horrified' as scandal hits home (The Age/AAP 29/9/04)

Police lift lid on web of abuse (Sydney Morning Herald 1/10/04)

31 Oct 2004