Probation officer struck off for downloading porn

    A registered social worker from Belfast who repeatedly visited pornographic websites from his work computer has been struck off.

    John Parry, 53, accessed sexually explicit images of adults on the internet “on numerous occasions” while at work despite knowing his system was being monitored. A conduct committee of the Northern Ireland Social Care Council described this as a “fundamental breach” of the code of practice.

    Parry was dismissed from his job as a probation officer at the Probation Board for Northern Ireland in summer 2008 after an internal inquiry.

    The matter was referred to the NISCC as the regulatory body for probation officers in Northern Ireland, who are required to have a social work qualification.

    Clean record

    Parry did not attend the hearing in Belfast but submitted a statement regretting his actions and admitting that his behaviour had been unacceptable. However, despite Parry’s previously clean record, the committee decided removal from the register was necessary to uphold public trust in services.

    The Police Service of Northern Ireland confirmed that “no indecent images of children were contained either on the computer or the profile” and there was no evidence that any of the sites visited by Parry involved children.

    Second removal in Northern Ireland

    NISCC chair Dr Jeremy Harbison said: “The Probation Board for Northern Ireland is to be congratulated on taking swift action in dealing with this issue and referring this matter to NISCC.”

    Parry is the second social worker to be removed from the NISCC register. The first, Anne Colhoun, was struck off in November 2007 for having an inappropriate relationship with a service user.

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