ACT News

Catholic school principal found with explicit picture of teenage boy

A Catholic school principal from Young was found with an explicit picture of a 13-year-old Canberra boy he previously chatted with on social networking application Grindr.

The crime of Michael John Philpot, 58, was uncovered by the Catholic Education Office in April last year, after they confiscated his school-issued iPhone, iPad and laptop over an IT policy breach.

Court documents said the office found an explicit picture of a boy, believed to be a student in the ACT, and messages of a sexual nature.

The pair's text messages were sent between September and December 2012 and Philpot expressed a desire to meet before receiving an explicit image of the boy.

"I'm sure we can have a good time. I hope I can get to Canberra in the next two weeks," Philpot wrote.

The image was then sent and Philpot replied:


"Great pic thanks."

The Catholic Education Office had asked Philpot to remove the passwords and pin codes from the iPhone and iPad, and hand over a username and password to the laptop.

Philpot complied.

The matter was then referred to police, with the office believing Philpot was in a sexual relationship with the boy.

Police forensically examined the devices, and found Philpot and the boy had conversed using the Grindr application, before they began texting each other.

Police believed Philpot had a sexual interest in the boy, who he knew was underage, according to court documents.

The principal is facing a charge of using a carriage service to solicit child pornography and has pleaded guilty in the ACT Magistrates Court.

He was committed for sentence in the ACT Supreme Court on Thursday by Magistrate Beth Campbell.

Philpot is on bail and will reappear in the higher court next month.

He is required to notify the court of any change of address.