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Welsh vicar who looked at indecent images of children spared jail

A vicar from Port Talbot has been sentenced to an18-month community order after admitting looking at hundreds of indecent images of children.

The Rev Canon Nigel Cahill, the Rector of Aberavon, who's 61, had 219 indecent images of children on his devices when he was arrested in June last year. 

He pleaded guilty to two offences of making indecent images of children between 2016 and 2020.

Judge Paul Thomas QC said prison was not appropriate due to Cahill's lack of previous convictions but that he would suffer significant public disgrace and that he had let large numbers of people down while failing his parishioners "horrendously". "They will feel a sense of betrayal by a man they looked up to and relied on for spiritual guidance," he added.

Swansea Crown Court heard how Cahill had used aliases when talking to people via Skype. He had admitted to officers: "I was online talking to someone looking at pictures of grown men and younger men. It is a problem I have had and when I'm stressed I drink and look at pictures online. There's no point denying it."

A statement on the Church in Wales website said: "The Church in Wales is deeply saddened and shocked that one of its clerics has committed such a serious offence. We hold all victims of child abuse in our prayers.

"Following his sentencing, Mr Cahill will be referred to the Disciplinary Tribunal of the Church in Wales, which will meet as soon as possible to consider the charge of conduct giving just cause for scandal or offence. In the meantime, he remains suspended from all duties.

"There is no place for any form of abuse in the Church in Wales. We give the highest priority to the care and protection of children and vulnerable people in the community. To this end we regularly review our safeguarding procedures and provide comprehensive training." the statement added.

Cahill was sentenced to an 18-month community order with a 45-day rehabilitation activity requirement. He must sign the sex offenders register for five years. A sexual offences prevention order was also made for the same length of time.

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