CLEVELAND (AP) — A Cleveland-area Roman Catholic priest who is accused of having child pornography is expected to make his first court appearance on Monday.
Authorities arrested the Rev. Robert McWilliams on Thursday at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Strongsville. He’s charged with possessing child pornography and possessing criminal tools.
McWilliams was being held in jail on a $100,000 bond and hasn’t made any statements since his arrest. Court records don’t indicate whether he has any attorney.
The Cleveland diocese says investigators took a a cellphone, iPad and laptop that belonged to McWilliams during a raid of the priest’s office and where he lived.
Cleveland Bishop Nelson Perez said in a statement that “all of us feel tremendous emotions of shock, disappointment and confusion.”
Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O’Malley told WKYC-TV in Cleveland that McWilliams had put himself in positions where he had access to children. “That’s what makes this case so troubling.” O’Malley said.
McWilliams, 39, became a priest in May 2017 and was a parochial vicar at the church’s school. The church has placed him on administrative leave.