• STV
  • MySTV

Retired social worker caught with stolen files on abused children

Anthony O'Donoghue stole confidential files relating to vulnerable children and had a haul of indecent photos.

Paisley Sheriff Court. Quality image.
HEMEDIA / SWNS Group

A retired social worker caught with stolen case files on abused children and a haul of indecent images has avoided jail.

Anthony O'Donoghue stole confidential files, relating to vulnerable children and adults, during his 18-year career with the Social Work Department between 1988 and 2006.

His theft of the files, which dated from the 1980s and 90s, only came to light during a probe into an international paedophile ring.

O'Donoghue swiped the files from social work offices across Glasgow while working as a temporary care officer and a community work assistant.

The 62-year-old was snared by police investigating paedophile ring in March last year after arriving at his home in Renfrew to carry out a search.

Their search also unexpectedly turned up a bag and a suitcase stuffed with the confidential records, which were labeled Strathclyde Regional Council Social Work.

Among the papers was a typed letter relating to a young boy who had been spanked by his uncle, along with guidance books on sex offending and sex abuse.

Police investigated further, receiving confirmation that the files were genuine and were the property of Strathclyde Regional Council.

Officials within the Social Work Department were unaware the files, which O'Donoghue should not have had, were missing from the relevant departments.

During his employment O'Donoghue worked at Windlaw Aged Persons Home, in Castlemilk, in Glasgow's south side.

He also worked at offices in Ruchill Street, in the north of the city's Ruchill, and Dalness Street, in Tollcross, in the east end.

O'Donoghue's position within the organisation also meant he had access to other social work offices.

Police came to search O'Donoghue's home in Renfrew in the belief that he had indecent DVDs on the property.

It is thought he was identified as someone who had child porn due to purchases he made online, from the now-defunct website www.azovfilms.com.

The films were from a Canadian-based website which sold DVDs marketed as being naturist films, many of which featured underage boys. The Canadian authorities deemed the films sold by the website to be of an indecent nature.

The website was taken down and is now being investigated as part of a global probe into the sexual exploitation of children. O'Donoghue made nine purchases from AZOV films but a total of 16 DVDs were found in his tenement flat.

The DVDs were all categorised at being level one or two on the scale which is used to grade how extreme child porn is.

Most of the DVDs lasted well over an hour and showed naked boys aged between seven and 18. All but one of the DVDs were found on the floor in O'Donoghue's bedroom.

O'Donoghue was arrested over the DVDs and stolen social work files and later appeared at Paisley Sheriff Court charged with possession of indecent images and stealing the files.

He pleaded guilty to the charges earlier this year and returned to the dock on Tuesday to be sentenced.

Sheriff James Spy placed him on a probation order telling him he will be supervised by social workers for the next three years.

As part of the probation order he also has to carry out 180 hours' unpaid work, was placed on the sex offenders register for three years, and has to work with an organisation that helps sex offenders in Renfrewshire.

O'Donoghue was also banned from owning any device which can access the internet unless getting permission from his supervisors and was banned from having any contact with anyone under the age of 16.

Feedback: We want your feedback on our site. If you've got questions, spotted an inaccuracy or just want to share some ideas about our news service, please email us on web@stv.tv.

Download: The STV News app is Scotland's favourite and is available for iPhone from the App store and for Android from Google Play. Download it today and continue to enjoy STV News wherever you are.

Join in: For debate, chat, comment and more, join our communities on the STV News Facebook page or follow @STVNews on Twitter.

Updates: Would you like STV’s latest news update in your inbox every morning? Choose from our range of regular e-newsletters here

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check. That e-mail's already in our system. Please try again.
ShowHide
Forgot password?
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long. Did you enter your details correctly?
If you've forgotten your details then use the 'Forgot password?' link.
Need to reset your password?

We'll send a link to reset your password to

We've sent you details on how to reset your password

Please check your email and follow the instructions.

Forgotten your email address?

Have you forgotten the email address that you previously joined with? Don't worry, by emailing enquiries@stv.tv we can help.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This must be at least 6 characters long.
ShowHide
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long.
You must be over 16 to join STV.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date
We need this to check that you live in an STV region.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid postcode
Would you like us to email you about our great shows and services from time to time?
We'll only send emails we think you'll like (see example) based on information you have supplied and shows you have watched on STV Player. For details on emails and advertising, see our STV & You page.
Would you like to receive emails from the Scottish Children's Lottery about draws, instant games and competitions?
We support the Scottish Children's Lottery (SCL), which is managed by our colleagues at STV ELM Ltd. You can find out more about the SCL on its website, including its Privacy Policy.

By continuing you agree to our Terms of Use, and understand our Privacy and Cookie Policies.

Upload Profile Picture

Please make sure your image is under 2mb in size and a valid JPG, PNG or GIF.

Are you sure?

Unfortunately, you'll be unable to access our premium content. We’ll be sorry to see you go, but if you change your mind you can rejoin us at any time.

Please verify your STV account

Please verify your STV account using the email we sent you. If you have lost the email, we can send you another one, just click the button below.

Thanks

We've sent you a new verification email.
Please check your email and follow the instructions to verify your account.

Welcome to STV
Thanks for joining us.

Oops!

Sorry, you must be at least 12 years old to place a vote for your Real Hero.

Please review our Voting Terms of Use for more information.

Oops!

Sorry! It seems that you are using a browser that is incompatible with our voting service.

To register your vote please copy the below URL in to your regular mobile browser. We recommend Google Chrome, or Safari.

http://shows.stv.tv/real-heroes/voting

Oops!

Sorry, you seem to have already voted in this category.

Thanks for voting

Now share your vote with friends on your social network

Share on twitter Share on facebook

Cast your vote

Please register or sign in to continue.

Cast your vote

This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date

Cast your vote

Please fill out this form to cast your vote. As you are under 16 years old you will not create an STV account. Why do we need these details?

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check.
Location This field is required.
Parental Consent This field is required.

That's you. All that's left is to click the 'Submit Vote' button below. By doing so, you confirm that you and your parent or guardian have read and accept our Voting Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Cookie policy, and that the details you have entered are correct. We'll look after them as carefully as if they were our own.