Child porn accused considered a ''minor god'' online

EARLIER: Child porn videos for research, court told

A man accused of downloading child pornography says he is considered a ``minor god'' by members of his online forums.

Robert Karl Stonjek, 55, of Kings Meadows has pleaded not guilty to possessing 35 child exploitation videos, which were discovered on his hard-drive in November 2011.

The self described ``independent researcher'' is arguing that he had a genuine scientific purpose for the videos, which is a defence under the criminal code. 

Mr Stonjek said he had no formal qualification but runs several online psychology forums with nearly 100,000 members.

 ``You have to be very very good  (to be a forum moderator), '' he said during cross-examination in Launceston's Supreme Court this morning. 

Crown prosecutor John Ransom asked if he considered himself ``very very good''.

``You only start to believe that when you're told many many times,'' Mr Stonjek replied.

Mr Stonjek said many of the forum members, including undergraduate students, treated him like ``a minor god''.

``I don't know why, it's not something I relish,'' he said.

Mr Stonjek has argued he downloaded the videos to write a paper called Childhood Exploitation Material: a comparative study of downloadable pedophilic material.

The paper was submitted for peer review but rejected for publication in the renowned Springer journal.

Mr Ransom suggested the paper could have easily been titled ``child exploitation material I downloaded and what was in it.''

``No that would never get up,'' Mr Stonjek said.

``But that's really what you've done isn't it?'' Mr Ransom said.

Mr Stonjek said the paper was ``groundbreaking'' because it set a precedent about children not being sexual beings. 

He disagreed with Mr Ransom that there was nothing ``new or novel'' with the idea,  citing a group of pedophiles in the United States lobbying to remove the minium age of consent.

``Do you really think anyone is going to listen to a group of pedophiles?'' Mr Ransom asked.

Mr Stonjek said the internet age made it easy for them to gain exposure. 

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