Cleveland Catholic Diocese priest arrested, accused of possession of child pornography

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CLEVELAND (WJW)-A Cleveland Catholic Diocese priest is under arrest after an investigation by the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.  Father Robert McWilliams was taken into custody Thursday morning after detectives searched his living and office space at Sts. Joseph & John School and St. Joseph Parish, according to a statement sent to the parish by the school principal.

“We wanted to make you aware as quickly as possible that law enforcement associated with the Ohio Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (“ICAC”) arrived at the parish this morning with a warrant to search Fr. Bob McWilliams’ living and office spaces for items related to possible crimes committed in Geauga County.  Law enforcement conducted its search and seized various electronic devices, including laptop computers, a cell phone, and an iPad associated with or belonging to Fr. McWilliams.  As a result of ICAC’s search, Fr. McWilliams was taken into custody.  We know little else at this time and will share any additional information that we obtain with you as we are able.  I have informed the Diocese of what occurred and the Diocese has placed Fr. McWilliams on administrative leave pending the outcome of this matter.”

Please know that the welfare of children, and in particular the children in our care here at Sts. Joseph & John School and St. Joseph Parish, is our highest priority and that we will cooperate in any way we can with law enforcement in this matter.

Lastly, I ask you to pray with us for all those involved in this matter.”

The Geauga County Prosecutor’s Office told FOX 8 News a search warrant was executed as part of an investigation involving “inappropriate text messages.”

As a result of the search, the prosecutor’s office says Fr. McWilliams was arrested for possession of child pornography.

An investigation continues.

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