Rhode Island priest admits to possession of child pornography

PROVIDENE, R.I. (WLNE) — United States Attorney Zachary Cunha said that a Catholic priest pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography Thursday.

Fr. James Jackson, who was previously assigned to St. Mary’s Church in Providence, admitted he downloaded files of child sexual abuse using a peer-to-peer-file-sharing network.

In September 2021, the Rhode Island State Police Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force found that the computer in Jackson’s bedroom in the rectory was found to contain images and videos of child sexual abuse.

A forensic audit of the devices subsequently identified over 12,000 images and 1,300 videos of child pornography, Cunha said.

Jackson was later released while awaiting trial to the custody of his sister in Kansas. In June 2022, Kansas police found that a portable computer and an external hard drive from Jacksons bedroom contained files with names indicative of child sexual abuse material had been deleted.

He is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 11.

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