James Whatling admitted he had an attraction to teen girls and collected illegal images for sexual gratification.
Newcastle Crown Court heard the 44-year-old, who worked at South Tyneside College but has since lost his job, had a shocking catalogue of 104,401 images, featuring victims aged between three and 15, on his computer devices.
The court heard 251 images and movies were of category A, which is the most serious and feature children being raped, 274 were of category B and 103,876 were of category C.
Prosecutor Alec Burns told the court: “The police went to his place of work, which is significant given these offences, on November 14 2018.
“He was employed at South Tyneside College.
“Following his arrest, they went to his house and took various pieces of digital equipment.”
Mr Burns said Whatling was interviewed by officers and added: “He made full admissions, accepting he had downloaded the photographs of children.
“He told police he was sexually attracted to children and had downloaded the contents over a period of about four years for his own sexual gratification.
“The age of the children ranges from three to 15 years of age.
“The videos of category A were just under six hours in total.”
Whatling, now of Highfield, Quinton, Birmingham, admitted three charges of making indecent photographs of children.
Mr Recorder Mark McKone sentenced him to 12 months imprisonment, suspended for two years, with rehabilitation requirements and £340 costs.
Whatling must abide by a sexual harm prevention order and sign the sex offenders register for ten years.
The judge told him: “Category A offences literally involve very young children being raped by adults.
“When people like you download those images that encourages the original perpetrators to carry on committing these dreadful offences.
“The court’s priority is to protect these young children.”
The judge said Whatling, who has never been in trouble before, has accepted he needs help and is someone the probation service said they can work with.
He added: “I am sure you appreciate people don’t get a second chance in relation to offending of this type, some people don’t even get one chance.”
Vince Ward, defending, said Whatling has taken voluntary steps to get help.
Mr Ward said Whatling’s interest was not in very young children and said he had an “entirely inappropriate interest in girls of slightly older age”.
He added: “His interest is, regrettably, in teenage girls.”
Mr Ward said Whatling lost his job as a result of the offences and “will have to start rebuilding his life”.
A spokeswoman for South Tyneside College said: “James Whatling was employed by the college from December 2013.
“Immediately on his arrest in November 2018, he was suspended from his employment and prohibited from college premises. He was dismissed from his post within three weeks.
“We cooperated fully with the police during their investigation. We have been assured that no college equipment was used as part of these offences.
“Whatling had no previous criminal convictions, and no concerns about his behaviour were raised by anyone involved with the college.
“We also immediately reported his dismissal to the DBS.
“The safeguarding of our students is our priority, and we work closely with the local authority and various agencies to support all children who study with us.”
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