Fed Charges Proceed Against Priest

News: Video Reports
by Hunter Bradford  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  January 28, 2022   

Fr. James Jackson facing trial for child porn

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TRANSCRIPT

The state of Rhode Island dropped criminal charges against a Fraternity of St. Peter priest, but charges in federal court are moving full steam ahead. Church Militant's Hunter Bradford explains the latest development in this troubling case.

Father James Jackson, a member of the traditional Catholic group, the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter — the FSSP — is facing the possibility of decades in prison for the alleged possession and distribution of child porn involving infants and toddlers. 

Last week the state dropped charges against Jackson, allowing similar charges to proceed instead in federal court, whose jurisdiction trumps that of the state.

Jackson was arrested in October after a two-month sting — charged by both state and federal prosecutors with possession and distribution of child porn. He's out on bail but under strict supervision — required to obey a curfew with internet access restricted.

Before being removed, he was pastor of St. Mary's on Broadway in Providence, Rhode Island, a parish under the auspices of the FSSP — a Vatican-approved group promoting the Traditional Latin Mass and the traditional teachings of the Church.

The arrest and subsequent news coverage have rubbed some Catholics the wrong way, with some skeptical of the accusations, claiming Jackson was framed despite having no evidence to back up the theory.

Some have also cited Jackson's plea of not guilty as an indicator of innocence even though criminal defense attorneys normally counsel clients to enter a not guilty plea, which is often changed down the road when defendants take a plea deal.

State investigators originally traced pornographic materials back to Jackson's computer and hard drive located just outside his rectory bedroom. 

When clerical sex crimes are perpetrated by priests espousing traditional Catholic beliefs, they're especially scandalous, not just to faithful Catholics but to everyone.

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