A former school employee and choir leader from Northamptonshire who admitted sexually touching a boy has been spared jail by a judge.
Paul Murphy, of Greenfield Avenue, Kettering, pleaded guilty at Northampton Crown Court last month to touching the legs and a private part of a boy.
But at his sentencing hearing yesterday the research assistant and school leader at St Thomas More Catholic Primary School in Kettering was spared prison in favour of a 36-month supervision order with probation. His victim was not a school pupil nor a member of the choir.
He will have carry out 300 hours of unpaid work and will be subject to a sexual harm prevention order for five years also.
Prosecuting, Sarah Gaunt said when police arrested Murphy in 2014, he admitted touching the boy and that his action was “inappropriate.”
He also admitted that he had been searching pornography sites using terms such as “teen boys” around the time of the offences, the court heard, though claimed he had never looked for material involving under 18s.
Downloads on his iPad, seized by police, included a file entitled “two gay boys”, the prosecutor said.
Ms Gaunt read out a statement from Murphy’s victim in court where the child said he felt “angry” and “disgusted” by the sexual touching.
But defending for Murphy, Maxine Krone said the defendant had lost his career, friends and his family since the crimes came to light. He formerly ran a choir at his church.
At the time he was still grieving from the loss of his wife in 2006, she said.
“He had never had counselling for the grief,” she said. “At the time he described himself as sad and lonely.
“It was a time he started drinking more and more to cope with his own problems.”
Mrs Krone added that Murphy admitted he was sexually confused at the time and has since quit drinking, begun attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and has done a “great deal of soul searching” after his arrest in 2014.