Catholic priest in Rhode Island charged with child pornography
Fr. James Jackson was charged on Saturday, October 30, with possessing and transferring child pornography. A Rhode Island State Police task force, Internet Crimes Against Children, executed a search warrant at St. Mary’s on Broadway, in Providence. Both the church and rectory were included in the warrant. State Police said that as part of a child pornography investigation, they discovered that the internet connection at the rectory at the parish was involved. Task Force members determined that Father Jackson was the owner of that media. The priest was arraigned by a Justice of the Peace and held after he failed to post bail.
By our count, Fr. Jackson is the 20th Catholic cleric or staffer arrested this year on criminal charges related to sexual abuse. We are seeing an average of two arrests per month. More importantly, SNAP statistics also reveal that there have been 350 clergy and laypersons charged with abuse since 2004. It certainly seems that a week does not go by without some disturbing news of offending Catholic clergy, brothers, nuns, or laity does not appear in our news feeds.
Bishop Thomas J. Tobin of the Diocese of Providence said in a statement following the arrest, "Jackson came to the diocese on Aug. 1 from the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter (FSSP). Before that, the fraternity had assigned him elsewhere outside Rhode Island." The bishop also said that the priest had been removed from ministry in light of the serious charges.
We wish that Fr. Jackson’s complete assignment history had been included in the statement. We believe that Fr. Jackson may have transferred to Rhode Island from Littleton, Colorado, where he worked at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, but it would be nice to have complete and solid information. According to the social media resource Facebook, Fr. Jackson was part of the installation of the FNE group at that parish. FNE is an activity for boys and girls similar to scouting. To us, it seems particularly urgent that Catholic officials in Providence alert both Fr. Jackson’s former parishioners and members of the FNE group of the recent charges.
Our fear is that children may have been endangered both in Rhode Island and in Colorado. We encourage anyone with information regarding this case to contact local law enforcement.
CONTACT: Mike McDonnell, SNAP Communications Manager, (267-261-0578, [email protected]) Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director (517-974-9009, [email protected]) Shaun Dougherty, SNAP Board President, (814-341-8386, [email protected])
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)