Police found the pornographic pictures on Bobby Lay's laptop after carrying out a raid at his Wolverhampton home, Stafford Crown Court heard.
In his web browser's history, Lay had used search terms such as '14-year-old models' and 'underage porn pictures'.
Mr Neil Ahuja, prosecuting, said an examination of the computer also showed that he had uploaded two of the indecent photos on to a file-sharing website.
Lay, aged 33, of Sherwood Street, Whitmore Reans, admitted four charges of making indecent images of children and two of distributing indecent images.
He was given a three-year community order with sex offender treatment and ordered to register as a sex offender for five years, banned from working with children indefinitely and told to pay £535 costs.
Judge Paul Glenn told him: "The police found a number of indecent images at levels one to four on your laptop.
"The pictures were both girls and boys and some plainly very young.
"You raised the suggestion of a virus - I am tempted to say I have heard all that before. You mention anxiety and depression.
"Your final position seems to be you have no recollection of downloading - I find that hard to accept and I find it hard to accept you have no sexual attraction to children.
"You suffer from post traumatic stress, you have plainly been affected by finding out the quite tragic details of your early childhood. In your case there is more to be gained from rehabilitation rather than locking you up for a short period."
Mr Ahuja said the indecent pictures, found following the search on May 22 last year, comprised 397 at the least serious level one; 25 at level two; 68 at level three and 87 at the serious level four depicting children being abused by adults.
Some of the children were as young as four, while many were in the range of five to 10 years old.
Initially, Lay claimed there was a virus on his computer, then said he had been confused and that he had no sexual interest in children.
Mr Andrew Wallace, defending, said: "This is not a particularly aggravated case, it's a modest number of images and doesn't demonstrate someone who's poring over the internet looking for images of abuse."
Lay, who has a partner and a young son, was reluctant to accept what he had done because of the disgust shown by others.