Cantor avoids jail over child porn conviction

A former synagogue cantor has avoided being sent to jail after he admitted making and distributing hundreds of images of child pornography.

Fashion company director Jeremy Lawson had resigned from his position at New West End Synagogue in Bayswater, west London, last year for “personal reasons”.

The United Synagogue discovered the real reasons for his departure only when he first appeared in court earlier this year.

But US officials reassured congregants that Lawson had not attended any services since last November.
Lawson was given a 16-month jail sentence, suspended for 24 months, at Isleworth Crown Court last Friday. He will also be supervised by probation officers for two years.

The 53-year-old, of Notting Hill, west London, will undertake 200 hours of unpaid work, pay £500 compensation and sign the sex offenders’ register for 10 years.

Lawson pleaded guilty to seven charges of making indecent photographs of children and a further three charges of distributing the images.

When he was arrested, police officers discovered more than 270 images of children, including more than 75 rated at the two highest levels of depravity under the Crown Prosecution Service’s sentencing guidelines.

The cantor was well-known on London’s Jewish choral circuit and had in the past been praised by Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks for his performances at New West End.

Last updated: 3:45pm, July 12 2013