Current Affairs

New evidence suggests Pembroke professor produced indecent images

New evidence suggests that Professor Peter King, the disgraced philosophy tutor, produced hundreds of indecent images of children. Previously there had been no suggestion that King was involved in producing any indecent images.

King has been suspended from his role as a philosophy tutor at Pembroke College and his profiles on the college and faculty of philosophy websites have been taken down.

He appeared in Oxford crown court on February 20th to plead guilty to multiple charges. These include three counts of making indecent photos of a child and one charge of possession of a prohibited image of a child. ‘Making’, which is distinct from possessing, can involve either the production of an image at source or the downloading of an image.

Between November 2010 and August 2018, King made 2,992 indecent images of a child. Almost 200 of these involve footage of the most serious sexual crimes. King’s defence lawyer declined to comment.

In 2008, King published a paper about the ethics of child pornography titled: No Plaything: Ethical Issues Concerning Child-pornography in which he considered “the possibility of a morally acceptable form of child-pornography”.

Published by the scientific journal publisher Springer, King argued child pornography could exist in “a way that is at least morally neutral” and “might even be morally good”.

The Oxford Blue has been told that Pembroke College may have been aware of King’s arrest almost a month before students were informed of his intention to plead guilty to the charges against him. A member of the college said that the academic director, Nancy Braithwaite, had been dealing with an arrest on January 23rd.

Philosophy students at Pembroke revealed that King did not schedule tutorials this term, whilst others were cancelled without reason at short notice. He also did not respond to emails from his students in the weeks leading up to his court appearance.

One of King’s students commented to The Oxford Blue, saying: “the only thing we spoke about this term was reviewing my collection. We corresponded about the collection through email but after he returned it and I emailed a time I could meet he never replied.”

It is understood that King only informed the college of his intention to plead guilty to the charges on February 19th. All students at Pembroke were informed the following evening after King had appeared in court.

Pembroke told The Blue: “Pembroke became aware of the charges against Peter King on Wednesday 19th February, the day before his court appearance.  He was immediately suspended. The allegation that the academic director was dealing with his arrest on 23rd January is entirely untrue.”

King will be sentenced on March 19th.