The music teacher was spared jail at Chelmsford Crown Court after parents sent 12 letters of support
A judge has allowed a paedophile music teacher to continue working with children after hearing letters of support from 12 of his pupils' parents.
Neil Deller, 42, had a daily "fixation" with child porn and 3,500 images showing girls as young as three and bestiality were found on his computer.
He continued to give private lessons following his arrest two years ago and the parents of many pupils wrote positive references to a court .
The letters were presented to a judge who spared Deller jail and refused to ban him from teaching children aged under 18 in the future.
Prosecutor Daniel Taylor, who requested the order, said: "He comes into contact with children on a regular basis so it is proportionate in order to protect those individuals."
The court heard the teacher had a "daily fixation" with porn
But Judge Christopher Ball QC instead told Deller to disclose his conviction before teaching kids aged under 16.
He added: "There’s no reported history from any of the people who have had dealings with you.
"By the very nature of your dealings and teaching them you have had opportunity to interfere with them if that was your interest and that’s not your interest."
Deller, who has taught privately and in state schools across Essex and Hertfordshire, had admitted seven offences involving downloading and possession of child porn.
He could have been sentenced to three years in jail when he appeared before Chelmsford Crown Court.
But Judge Ball said there was compelling evidence that he did not pose a significant risk of sexually abusing young people.
The judge said there was compelling evidence he did not pose a risk to children
Instead, he imposed a community order on the paedophile and arranged for him to attend an internet sex offender treatment programme.
Deller, of Bishops Stortford, Essex, will be supervised for three years, carry out 120 hours unpaid work and have his Internet activity monitored for five years.
Judge Ball added: "Over the last ten years there has been a constant stream of cases, almost always male defendants in their middle or late years, who have become involved in, absorbed by, fixated with internet pornography.
"And the ease with which this material can be accessed, it's not long before that interest and obsession with pornography descends into a kind which depicts sexual assaults on very young children.
Not to mention animals! Sin is progressive and for many people it is a steady descent into more and more morbid and perverted porn.
"That's the downward path you have taken. For a considerable period you have found yourself obsessed on a daily basis with this sort of material."
Deller was also ordered to sign the sex offenders' register for five years and pay £850 costs.
What do you think of this? Initially, I thought it outrageous, but since he apparently has not acted out beyond viewing child porn and bestiality, I think it a good idea to try and rehabilitate him. On the other hand, I am alarmed that parents would continue to send their children to a man who is admittedly obsessed with some of the worst kinds of child pornography. At the very least I would require them to be chaperoned.