Father James Jackson facing child pornography charges in Rhode Island

A Roman Catholic priest who spent 15 years at a Littleton church before becoming a pastor in Rhode Island this summer is facing child pornography charges in that state.

The Rev. James Jackson, 66, was arrested Saturday after a court-authorized search warrant was executed at St. Mary’s church and rectory in Providence, according to Rhode Island State Police.

The search uncovered digital media containing child pornography, and police identified Jackson as the owner, according to a statement Sunday from Rhode Island State Police Col. James Manni.

Jackson worked at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church in Littleton from 2006 through July, said Mark Haas, spokesman for the Archdiocese of Denver. He delivered the sermon at the funeral mass for Boulder police Officer Eric Talley, who was killed in a March mass shooting at a King Soopers grocery store.

Jackson moved to Rhode Island in August and belongs to the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter, a religious order that assigns priests to and runs some parishes, including Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

“To minister in the Archdiocese of Denver, a religious order priest must have a letter of good standing from his religious order, pass a background check and complete the archdiocese’s required Safe Environment training,” Haas said in a statement. “Before Father Jackson was permitted to minister in Colorado, all three of these safety steps were completed.”

He added that the archdiocese did not receive “any allegation of misconduct” against Jackson while he was stationed in Colorado. Haas did not immediately answer a question about whether the church will review Jackson’s Littleton tenure in light of his arrest.

Jackson was held on $5,000 bail pending a future court date, authorities said. It was not clear if he had an attorney.

Diocese of Providence Bishop Thomas Tobin in a statement said Jackson has been prohibited from performing the duties of a priest.

“The use of child pornography is a serious crime and a grave sin,” the bishop said.

The Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter in a statement said it was “shocked and saddened by news of Father Jackson’s arrest and the serious allegations against him.” He had previously passed a background check, the statement said.

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