Former Bunbury priest to serve time behind bars over child exploitation images

Guilty: Former Bunbury priest Adrian Van Klooster will spend time behind bars after being found in possession of child exploitation material. Photo: Facebook.

Guilty: Former Bunbury priest Adrian Van Klooster will spend time behind bars after being found in possession of child exploitation material. Photo: Facebook.

A former Bunbury priest with a history of child sex offences was sent to prison last week for 12 months over “explicit and depraved” images found in his possession.

Adrian Richard Van Klooster, 75, appeared in Perth District Court on Friday for sentencing in relation to the possession of child exploitation material discovered at his Maddington home late last year.

Van Klooster, a registered sex offender, pleaded guilty in relation to the material which included more than 2000 cartoon images depicting children being willingly or forcefully sexually penetrated by adults and other children, child mistreatment and abuse, and child pregnancy caused by the depicted abuse.

His lawyer tried to argue Van Klooster had not used the images for the purposes of sexual gratification, but Judge Bruce Goetze said he found that hard to believe, considering the offender’s previous record.

It’s difficult to understand that there’s not some element of sexual gratification involved. - Judge Bruce Goetze.

“It’s difficult to understand that there’s not some element of sexual gratification involved,” the judge said.

Van Klooster was sentenced to eight years behind bars in 2003 for the sexual abuse of five children while he was a Catholic priest in Bunbury.

He also has convictions for indecently recording a child and possession of child pornography.

The former priest is currently paying off a $25,000 Criminal Injuries Compensation debt at a rate of $50 per fortnight.

“You have poor social and emotional functioning,” Judge Goetze said.

“You have deviant sexual fantasies.”

Of particular concern to the judge was Van Klooster’s “ongoing sexual interest in children”, and the fact that while the images found in his possession did not depict real children, they did “normalise exploitative behaviours in real children”.

Van Klooster was deemed to be at risk of re-offending, with Judge Goetze referring to an immediate prison term being appropriate for the protection of the community.

Van Klooster was made eligible for parole.

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