Caroline Parry, 45, was head of English at Bishopsgarth School in Stockton, Teesside, UK when she began swapping sick fantasies with the man online.
|Caroline Parry, once-respected teacher|
When police raided her home, they discovered 20 child abuse images on her laptop and USB stick, along with a series of messages in which the disgraced teacher said the child victims were 'loving' what was happening to them.
The court was also told how Parry revelled in the idea of being a 'fellow paedo'.
At a previous hearing Parry, of Ormesby, Middlesbrough, pleaded guilty to making and possessing indecent images of children and possession of extreme pornography involving a horse in an admission which sent 'shockwaves' through the teaching profession.
She has now been jailed for 18 months, after a judge described her 'fall from grace' as 'nothing less than spectacular'.
Handing down the sentence, Judge Stephen Ashurst said: 'You are regarded by the outside world as being a responsible mother.
'You have been well-respected for many years as a senior teacher at a local school.
'Your marriage is now in tatters, your home life disrupted, your career in ruins and, I am sure you will appreciate, all of this is self-inflicted.'
Judge Ashurst described how she maintained an online relationship with the man for 'a number of years' after he described his sexual preferences in 'explicit details'.
'He described his sexual preferences for sex with children - in particular very young girls and also with their mothers - and he sent very disturbing still and moving images to you,' he said.
'Far from being repulsed by what you were either viewing or downloading, you encouraged him in his sick fantasies. He referred to you as being a "fellow paedo" and you went along with that.'
The court was told how, when police raided her home, they found 20 indecent images of children - both moving and still - with 16 of them being of the most serious category.
The judge said Parry described the child victims as 'cute' what was happening to them, despite the images showing serious abuse by adults of children as young as two.
He added that the local community could be reassured that the victims were not family members or pupils.
But he said that, regardless of where they lived in the world, the gravity of the offending was such that an immediate custodial sentence could not be avoided.
Parry was put on the sex offenders register for 10 years and made the subject of a sexual harm prevention order for the same period.
At a previous hearing Parry admitted making and possessing indecent images of children and one count of possessing extreme pornography involving a horse. She was jailed after appearing at Teesside Crown Court (pictured)
Harry Hadfield, prosecuting, said the investigation was launched by the National Crime Agency while it was looking into the conduct of the man in the US.
On the USB stick which contained images of abuse, they also found school materials relating to Key Stages 4 and 5, he said.
Rachael Dyson, defending, said Parry was 'extremely remorseful for her actions' and keen to work with the authorities to address her behaviour.
She described her as working long hours.
'It is expected that her arrest, charge and guilty plea has sent shockwaves through that profession - people being completely surprised that a woman who had been so highly-respected would commit offences of this nature,' she said.
After the hearing, Colin Radcliffe, operations manager at the NCA's CEOP Command, said: 'Whilst there is no evidence that Caroline Parry abused her position of trust at her place of work, we consider that she poses a significant risk due to the nature of the images she was downloading and viewing.
'The chat logs which she had engaged in seemed to span a number of years, and were extreme in nature.
'Individuals who think they can share indecent images of children under the radar of law enforcement should know that we will pursue them and ensure they are brought to justice.'
A spokesman for Bishopsgarth School said: 'Ms Parry is no longer employed by the school and we would like to reassure our parents and carers that these offences are in no way related to the school or its pupils.
'Furthermore, we have very robust policies and procedures in place to safeguard and protect children in our care.'
An NSPCC spokesman added: ‘This was an appalling crime committed by someone who was trusted to look after children.
'To deal in these images – each one of which shows an innocent child suffering sexual abuse – fuels a demand for this vile market.
'Her despicable behaviour has been rightly punished. Hopefully this will send a message that this is not a victimless crime. Every picture is a snapshot of a child’s life being severely damaged.’