STRONGSVILLE, Ohio — Church officials have confirmed that a priest at St. Joseph Parish in Strongsville was taken into custody as part of an investigation conducted by local authorities and the Ohio Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.
According to the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland, Rev. Robert McWilliams' office and living quarters were searched by law enforcement Thursday morning.
The Geauga County Prosecutor's Office said authorities opened an investigation on allegations relating to "inappropriate" text messages. The task force executed a search warrant at his home and office and he was arrested for possession of child pornography.
Church officials confirmed that as part of the search, police seized a cell phone, laptop computer and an iPad that belonged to McWilliams.
He has not been officially charged.
The prosecutor's office said, "there have been no allegations of an inappropriate relation or physical abuse involved in our investigation."
Church officials said that McWilliams has been placed on administrative leave while his case is adjudicated.
The Catholic Diocese of Cleveland said that it is "committed to protecting children and stand ready to cooperate with law enforcement to assist in the investigation."
McWilliams was ordained in 2017.