PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A Providence priest has been arrested and is facing several charges, including possession of child pornography.
Officers for the Rhode Island State Police Computer Crimes Unit and Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force arrested Father James Jackson over the weekend, according to a news release.
The 66-year-old priest, now formerly of St. Mary’s Church, is accused of possession of child pornography, transfer of child pornography and child erotica prohibited.
State Police say as part of a child pornography investigation, they identified the internet connection at the rectory at St. Mary’s to be connected in the sharing of child porn.
On Saturday, ICAC Task Force members executed a search warrant at the church and rectory and determined that Father Jackson was the owner of that media.
A spokesperson for the Diocese of Providence released a statement, reading in part, “A priest of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter (FSSP), Rev. James Jackson, FSSP, was arrested Saturday, October 30, by the Rhode Island State Police on charges related to the possession of child pornography. Jackson, who was pastor of Saint Mary’s on Broadway, Providence, has been prohibited from the sacred ministry and the exercise of the office of pastor by Most Rev. Thomas J. Tobin, Bishop of Providence.”
The statement continued, saying Jackson was assigned to St. Mary’s in August of this year, and prior to that, he was assigned by the FSSP outside of Rhode Island.
“The use of child pornography is a serious crime and a grave sin. The charges against Father Jackson are very disturbing to all and must be taken very seriously,” said Bishop Tobin in the statement.
“At the same time, I renew my pastoral concern and offer my fervent prayers for the good people of St. Mary Parish during this difficult time,” he said.
The Diocese added that before Jackson’s arrival, they conducted a background check which did not show any concerns.
Jackson was arraigned by a Justice of the Peace and held on $5,000 surety bail. He was taken to the ACI and is expected in court at a later date.