France jails Oxford University professor over child pornography


Faculty of Oriental Studies, Oxford University

France jails Oxford university professor over 28,000 child pornography images and videos

The academician is a theology professor, a former pastor, and the editor-in-chief of a leading journal of Old Testament studies.

Jan Joosten admitted the offense and described his addiction as a secret garden in contradiction with him as a person.


A French court in Saverne has sentenced an Oxford University theology professor to a year in prison for downloading and possessing 28,000 child pornography images and videos (about 27,000 images and 1,000 videos) by a court in the city of Saverne, France. The court also ordered a three-year program of treatment and rehabilitation and barred him from any activity bringing him into contact with minors.

Also, the Faculty of Oriental Studies and Christ Church College of Oxford University on Monday suspended the 61-year-old professor.


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The images and videos were reported to have been downloaded over a six-year period. The child pornography images were discovered through a protracted police investigation by cybercrime specialists in Strasbourg, France. The French prosecutors said the material downloaded by the professor of theology and former pastor included pictures of child rape.

An AFP report in France said that Jan Joosten, the academician admitted the facts of the case and told the court he was relieved to be arrested. He described his addiction to child pornographic images and videos as a secret garden in contradiction with him as a person.

AFP reported that Jan Joosten was not immediately committed to prison because his sentence would be supervised, and maybe probably be amended by an independent judge.

Jan Joosten, who holds the prestigious regius professorship of Hebrew at Oxford, is considered one of the most distinguished biblical scholars of his generation.

Joosten, who studied in Belgium, the US, and Israel, taught at the University of Strasbourg for 20 years before joining Oxford in 2014 but still holds a role at Strasbourg. He is currently the editor-in-chief of Vetus Testamentum, a leading journal of Old Testament studies.

The eminent academician and professor of theology, who spent six years as a pastor in his native Belgium, is a father of four. He lives in the Bas-Rhin region of France.

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