A well-known Montreal-area deacon is charged with possession and production of child pornography after a citizen’s complaint led to a search of his home, police said.

Police arrested William Kokesch at his Pointe-Claire, Que. home Friday morning. Investigators say they found more than 2,000 images with sexual content, and have seized the hard drive of Kokesch’s computer.

Kokesch, 65, served as a deacon, or a church assistant, at St-Edmund of Canterbury parish on the West Island for the last seven years, and was once a spokesperson for the Canadian Conference of Bishops.

In addition to serving as a frequent commentator on church issues, he was also very active in organizing events for Catholic youths in both Canada and Europe.

In the 1970s and 80s, Kokesch worked as a radio journalist.

A neighbour called the allegations against Kokesch “very disturbing,” while another said the community should not rush to judgement until he has had his day in court.

Church officials refused to comment on Saturday. However, the Archdiocese of Montreal issued a statement Saturday evening saying that Kokesch had been removed from all pastoral activity.

"We wish to assure all those concerned by this event that we are keeping them in our prayers, and we urge everyone to have confidence in and respect for the judicial process and to await its conclusions," the statement said.

Kokesch, who is married and has adult children, appeared in a Montreal court via video conference Saturday afternoon. He did not enter a plea during the proceedings.

He will remain in custody until his bail hearing, which is scheduled for next week.

With reports from The Canadian Press and CTV Montreal’s Stephane Giroux and Camille Ross