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Former Lincoln-area priest facing federal child porn charges
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Former Lincoln-area priest facing federal child porn charges

From the What you missed this week in notable Southeast Nebraska crimes and court cases series
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After a three-year investigation, the state has identified 258 documented victims of sexual abuse and misconduct by 57 Catholic Church officials, Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson said Thursday.

A 66-year-old Catholic priest in Rhode Island — but with ties to the Lincoln area — is facing up to 40 years in prison on federal child pornography charges.

James Jackson

James Jackson

James Jackson was pastor at St. Mary’s in Providence when the state police searched his rooms at the rectory Oct. 30 and found the pornography — videos involving prepubescent girls, including toddlers and infants — on a two-terabyte storage device believed to belong to Jackson, according to a news release from the Rhode Island U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Nebraska clergy sex abuse report: 258 victims, 57 predators, no prosecutions

State police had been investigating the case since early September, when a detective identified an IP address — assigned to the rectory — allegedly sharing child porn on a peer-to-peer network.

Jackson was arrested on state charges, released on bail, then rearrested on federal charges.

He appeared in U.S. District Court on Nov. 3, facing charges of distributing child pornography, and possessing and accessing with intent to view child pornography. Each is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

Jackson was the first rector of Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary near Denton when it opened in 2000. The seminary falls within the Diocese of Lincoln’s boundaries, but it’s operated autonomously by the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, and Jackson was never a priest of the diocese.

“The Bishop of Lincoln does not make faculty appointments at the Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary or get involved in seminary operations,” the Rev. Nicholas Kipper, a diocese spokesman, said Tuesday.

After Denton, Jackson served a Littleton, Colorado, church for 15 years, according to the Denver Post, moving to Rhode Island in early August 2021.

Pope clears Lincoln bishop to return to role

The Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter issued a statement after Jackson’s arrest, saying it was shocked and saddened by the allegations against him.

“Before starting his current assignment at the beginning of August, Father underwent a criminal background check and had a sterling record of priestly service. We had no reason to believe Father was engaging in any inappropriate behavior, let alone criminal conduct.”

Jackson, stripped of his priestly duties by the bishop in Providence, was released from federal custody with an electronic monitor, and allowed to live with a relative in Kansas, according to the U.S. Attorney’s news release.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7254 or psalter@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LJSPeterSalter

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