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Priest charged with DUI after pedestrian struck

A pedestrian was hospitalized after being struck by a vehicle Sunday night on Airport Road in Warwick, while the Diocese of Providence has confirmed a man charged with driving under the influence in connection with the accident is a local priest.

Jacek Ploch, 38, of 445 Washington St. in Coventry, was released to the custody of a sober adult after being processed at headquarters Sunday night, according to a statement from Warwick Police. He was issued a summons to appear in Third Division District Court on Aug. 8.

In a statement Monday, the diocese confirmed that Ploch has served as pastor at two Coventry parishes – St. Vincent de Paul and Our Lady of Czenstochowa – since 2013 and 2017, respectively.

“Our thoughts and prayers go first of all to the victim of the accident on Airport Road. We pray for a full and speedy recovery,” the statement reads.

It continues: “While Father Ploch has served this diocese and his parishes well, spiritual leaders must always strive to set a good example for others. Whenever a priest is involved in an unfortunate situation like this, he is subject to the consequences of civil law, and potentially to canonical sanctions as well. The Diocese will respond to this situation as more details become available.”

According to police, the accident occurred just before 9:30 p.m. in the area of 767 Airport Road. Initial reports indicated a male pedestrian had been struck by a vehicle – a 2018 Jeep Wrangler – and was lying in the roadway.

The pedestrian was reportedly crossing Airport Road from north to south near the KFC and was not in a crosswalk at the time of the accident.

At the scene, emergency responders found the pedestrian conscious with an “apparent extremity injury.” He was transported to Rhode Island Hospital for treatment and was listed in stable condition.

The crash remains under investigation by the Warwick Police Traffic Unit reconstruction team, according to the statement.

Anyone with information regarding the accident is asked to contact Sgt. Robert T. Hart at 468-4293.

Science teacher faces new sexual assault charges

A Warwick man who has been on unpaid leave from his job as a science teacher at Cranston High School West since a 2017 arrest on sexual assault charges is facing new criminal complaints.

Charles Pearson, 60, was arrested earlier this month after being indicted on one count of first-degree sexual assault and three counts of second-degree sexual assault. He was ordered held without bail following an appearance in Superior Court. It is unclear whether the charges relate to Pearson’s time at Cranston West.

Pearson was charged with multiple counts of second-degree sexual assault in April 2017. Those charges stemmed from several alleged incidents that occurred between October 2016 and March 2017 and involved victims between the ages of 14 and 16, according to Cranston Police.

A pretrial conference in the earlier case is scheduled for July 30 in Superior Court.

City man pleads guilty to robbery charge

A Cranston resident has pleaded guilty to a charge of first-degree robbery in connection with a 2018 home invasion in Providence, according to the office of Attorney General Peter F. Neronha.

Elijah Blyden, 19, entered the plea in Superior Court on June 19. His sentencing is scheduled for July 31.

According to Neronha’s office, Blyden and two co-defendants forcibly entered a Hanover Street apartment on the night of June 25, 2018.

“Once inside, Blyden and the co-defendants held the family at gunpoint, bound them with cords, threatened them with two guns and a kitchen knife, and pistol-whipped one victim,” reads a statement from Neronha’s office. “The victims were robbed of cash and jewelry and the apartment was ransacked. As they left, the defendants threatened to kill the victims if they called the police.”

Prosecutors say social media posts depicting the defendants “handling firearms and large amounts of cash” were discovered during the Providence Police Department’s investigation of the incident.

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