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Senior Catholic education adviser charged with child pornography offences

A teacher and former religious education adviser to the Catholic Education Service (CES) has been charged with possessing more than 5,000 indecent images of children.

Father Tim Gardner, who also used to teach philosophy and RE at a North London convent school, appeared before Westminster Magistrates’ Court this week. He faces a total of 11 charges.

In his former role at the CES, Gardner was involved in lobbying the government about the importance of RE in schools.

Gardner, who used to teach at Maria Fidelis Convent School in Camden, also served as a governor at the independent Catholic girls school Rye St Antony in Oxford, The Tablet Catholic newspaper reported.

Following his court appearance on Monday, Gardner was released on bail on the condition that he has no contact with anyone under the age of 18. The 41-year-old is due to appear before Southwark Crown Court on 24 February.

A statement issued by the English Province of the Dominican Friars confirmed that Gardner had been charged with "a serious offence”.

“[The province] has co-operated fully with the police, in accordance with nationally agreed church safeguarding guidelines. As the case is sub-judice, no further comment can be given at this time,” the statement added.

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