Former RI Catholic priest facing child-pornography charges is back behind bars

Providence Journal [Providence RI]

October 11, 2022

By Tom Mooney

A Catholic priest formerly of Providence who was granted bail last year after being charged with possessing and transferring child pornography is back behind bars after authorities alleged he violated the conditions of his pretrial release while living in Kansas.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Patricia Sullivan last week ordered The Rev. James Jackson detained after a separate child pornography investigation in Kansas this summer led police to search a home in Leawood, Kansas, where Jackson, former pastor at St. Mary’s on Broadway, was staying with a relative. 

Federal court documents say the investigation “identified internet activity linked to Mr. Jackson from May 2022 to June 2022 in which he allegedly engaged in accessing child pornography.” 

During the July search, police seized a Microsoft Surface Pro computer and an external hard drive. Jackson was not arrested. But a federal probation report says Jackson, who “appeared to have tried to concealed/hidden the devices at the time of the search,” was not approved to have any electronic equipment other than a cellphone. 

Detective Christopher Moore with the Overland Park Police Department, which led the Kansas investigation, said on Tuesday that Jackson had not been charged in that ongoing investigation. 

Last Oct. 30, members of the Rhode Island State Police Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force arrested Jackson during a search of two rooms inside St. Mary’s rectory, where he lived. 

Authorities at the time said that an East Providence detective assigned to the task force had identified a computer IP address from the church rectory as being utilized to share files of child sexual abuse material on a peer-to-peer file-sharing network.  

Authorities said the IP address had been “used multiple times between September 26 and October 17, 2021, to view and share videos consistent with child sexual abuse material.”

Authorities charged Jackson with possession of child pornography, transfer of child pornography and child erotica prohibited. 

Jackson is now awaiting trial at the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Center, in Central Falls.

No trial date has been set.

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