The Catholic Education Service’s former Religious Education Adviser has appeared in court charged with possessing more than 5,000 indecent images of children.
Fr Tim Gardner, 41, a Dominican, had taught Philosophy and Religious Education at Maria Fidelis Convent School, Camden in North London.
He appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Monday to confirm his name at a brief hearing.
He is facing eleven allegations of possessing 5,005 images, some of which are graded at level five denoting the most extreme content and one of which shows bestiality.
Fr Tim’s case was referred to Southwark Crown Court where there will be a preliminary hearing on 24 February.
The priest’s lawyer did not indicate how the defendant would plead to the charges.
He has been released on bail on condition that he has no contact with anyone under the age of 18.
Fr Tim served as secretary to the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales’ Department for Catholic Education and Formation.
In his religious education adviser role at the CES, he had been involved in lobbying the Government to ensure that RE remained a priority in schools.
He is also a former communications director for the Dominican Order in England and was based at St Dominic’s Priory, in North London. He had also been a governor of the Catholic independent school for girls Rye St Antony in Oxford.
In a statement the Dominican Order said it had co-operated fully with the police, in accordance with nationally agreed Church safeguarding guidelines.