WINTHROP, MASS. (WHDH) - A Winthrop police lieutenant was in court Wednesday to face charges of child rape.

James Feeley, 56, a 20-year veteran of the police force, was charged with one count of child rape and two counts of indecent assault and battery on a child.

One day after his client’s arrest, Feeley’s attorney said “What happened here is an aberration of immense proportions.”

“And he knows that,” said defense attorney Nitin Dalal.

According to court documents, Winthrop’s police chief said he was called to a town cemetery on Christmas night. There, the chief reported finding Feeley near Feeley’s parents’ gravesite with a handgun. Feeley then allegedly told his police chief he had committed a sex crime against a child.

Continuing in his comments, Dalal said his client “is the one who brought this to light.”

“He was feeling guilt, remorse, embarrassment, humiliation — not only for himself, but for his family, the alleged victim, for his department,” Dalal said.

“These are still extremely serious charges that he’s facing,” said prosecutor Benjamin Hui.

Feeley was taken for a psychiatric evaluation before being arrested on Tuesday.

The alleged victim was checked at a hospital and claimed Feeley had committed similar acts twice before.

Chief Terence Delehanty confirmed Wednesday that Feeley was placed on paid administrative leave from the Winthrop Police Department “pending the outcome of a criminal investigation headed by State Police Detectives assigned to the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office.”

Within Winthrop, meanwhile, word of this case spread fast, with one woman who knows the Feeley family saying she was “very shocked.”

“We all knew them and they’re just very nice people,” said Bobbie Stevens.

Feeley’s church also issued a statement, saying it was “extraordinarily saddened to learn of the allegations against Lieutenant James Feeley.”

“While the Feeley family have been members of our church, Lieutenant Feeley does not now and has never held any position of leadership or authority in our church,” Pastor Jason Tallent of Harbor City Church continued.

Feeley’s bail was set at $200,000. His defense attorney said Feeley would not be able to make that amount of bail, and he would be taken back to Nashua Street Jail in Boston.

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