A former Catholic school teacher, who shared fantasies online about raping babies, has been sentenced to four years imprisonment in Western Australia after he was nabbed in the same investigation as ex-journalist Ben McCormack.
Mathew Paul Reale, 30, pleaded guilty to 12 charges including producing, possessing and distributing child exploitation material, and using electronic communication to expose a child to indecent matter.
Reale, whose offending spanned from June 2015 to February 2017, grew up in a Catholic family and had to suppress his sexuality, the WA District Court heard on Friday.
He struggled with alcohol use and started accessing gay porn before later chatting to men online about his sexual fantasies related to young boys, even discussing plans to find a boy at a park to abuse.
Reale also sent a photograph of a student to a man online, describing him as his favourite, but his lawyer Abigail Rogers said he had no sexual interest in his students and never intended to act on his fantasies.
Judge Kate Glancy acknowledged there was no allegation Reale abused his students.
He was found in possession of almost 35,000 images and 2600 videos of child exploitation.
Some material showed sadism, bondage and bestiality, with one distressed child wearing a dog collar while being sexually abused.
Judge Glancy said Reale’s offending was prolific and at the higher end of the scale of seriousness, describing the child exploitation material as vile and abhorrent.
She said his communication with other men encouraged them to offend against children.
“The degree of perversion … is very high,” Judge Glancy said.
“These were not victimless crimes.
“The harm done to these children is incalculable.”
Judge Glancy accepted Reale was remorseful but noted he was at high risk of reoffending, adding general deterrence was also a significant sentencing factor.
Reale must serve at least two years behind bars before he can be eligible for parole.
Others nabbed in the ring included disgraced A Current Affair reporter Ben McCormack, who pleaded guilty in Sydney to two counts of using a carriage service to transmit, publish or promote child pornography.
He was sentenced last year to a $1000, three-year good behaviour bond.
Leon Mario Berger pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography and was sentenced this year to 10 months imprisonment.