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Former Littleton priest faces federal charges of possessing, distributing child pornography

Documents say federal investigators found a hard drive in the rectory of the church with hundreds of images and video files depicting child sexual abuse.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — A former Littleton priest is facing federal charges of possessing and distributing child pornography.

James Jackson, 66, was arrested Saturday after a search warrant was executed at St. Mary's Church and rectory in Providence, Rhode Island.

Rhode Island State Police said the search warrant was executed after investigators determined the internet connection at the church was allegedly connected to the sharing of child porn.

Federal documents say a detective with the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and the East Providence Police Department identified a computer sharing files of child sexual abuse material using a peer-to-peer file-sharing network.

The detective then traced the IP address to St. Mary's Church of Providence.

On Oct. 30, investigators carried out a search warrant at the church. While doing the search, investigators met Father James Jackson outside of the rectory building and asked to speak with an attorney after learning detectives were there investigating crimes related to child pornography.

RELATED: Former Littleton priest arrested on child pornography charges in Rhode Island

During the search, investigators found an external hard drive in an area of the rectory that also connected to Father Jackson's bedroom. Federal documents say hundreds of images and video files depicting child sexual abuse were discovered on the hard drive believed to be owned by Jackson. 

The files included images and videos of infants and toddlers along with bondage and bestiality. 

Jackson has been in his position for about four months when the arrest happened. Previously, Jackson served as a priest at Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Littleton from August 2006 through July of this year. Advocates in Colorado worry kids here may have been endangered.   

Jackson was assigned to the parish by the Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP) religious order. The group issued a statement about his arrest, saying they were "shocked and saddened" by the "serious allegations" against him. 

The FSSP said he had a sterling record prior to his new placement in Providence and did not have any reason to believe he was engaging in misconduct or criminal activity. 

The Archdiocese of Denver says they never received any allegations or complaints against Jackson. A spokesperson for the Archdiocese said they plan on cooperating with any investigations but are waiting to learn what the next steps moving forward may be from law enforcement. 

The Archdiocese released the following statement on Nov. 3:

"The Archdiocese of Denver has not been contacted by federal authorities. If any civil authorities contact us, we would cooperate with their investigation.  All further questions regarding the criminal investigation should be directed to the appropriate civil authorities."

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