Father James Jackson, a priest of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP) and pastor of St. Mary’s Church in Providence, Rhode Island, USA has been relieved of his office as priest after the police arrested him for child pornography, according to agency reports
Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence in a statement said that Jackson “has been prohibited from the sacred ministry and the exercise of the office of pastor” as a result of the arrest.
The statement said the diocese had been presented with a letter of suitability for ministry for Jackson prior to his arrival in the state, and that the parish will continue to be entrusted to the care of the FSSP.
The priest is charged with three crimes related to child sexual abuse material : possession of child pornography, transfer of child pornography, and child erotica prohibited by the Rhode Island State Police.
The arrest stemmed from an investigation by Rhode Island State Police Computer Crimes Units/Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, which discovered that the internet connection at the rectory at St. Mary’s Church was being used to share child sexual abuse material.
The state police executed a search warrant on Saturday at the parish and then arrested Jackson after determining that he was the owner of the material, the state police said.
Jackson was formerly pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church in Littleton, Colorado. He gave the homily at the March 29 funeral Mass for Eric Talley, a Boulder police officer and Catholic father of seven who was killed in a mass shooting at a Colorado supermarket.
In Rhode Island, the charge of “child erotica prohibited” is defined as the production, possession, display, or distribution of “any visual portrayals of minors who are partially clothed, where the visual portrayals are used for the specific purpose of sexual gratification or sexual arousal from viewing the visual portrayals.”
If convicted of all three charges, Jackson faces up to 21 years in prison.