Accused former priest testifies in own defence

Phillip Jacobs took the stand Monday afternoon by explaining how, when he was a young priest he took teenage boys on overnight trips

Warning: The following story contains graphic testimony of a sexual nature that could be upsetting to some readers.

Phillip Jacobs took the stand in his own defence Monday afternoon by explaining how, when he was a young priest in Columbus, Ohio, he took teenage boys on overnight trips, intent on teaching them how to masturbate.

 

“The goal was for the person to become normal with this physiological act under my direction,” Jacobs, 63, told Justice J. Miriam Gropper during questioning by his defence lawyer Chris Considine. “I would ask them what they know about their bodies … whether they were curious … eventually, if I could get some sense of curiosity, I would ask ‘How much do you trust me? Can I explain it?’”

Jacobs said there were at least three, maybe more, teenage boys he took on these 18-hour “packages,” that included golf, swimming, fishing, pool, dinner and TV in the mid-1970s.

Eventually the Catholic Diocese of Columbus received complaints regarding these trips, and the church sent Jacobs to the Institute of Living in Hartford, Conn., where he underwent a nine-month counselling program.

In addition to regular therapy there, Jacobs told the court about sitting in on group therapy sessions involving sexual assault victims.

“There was clearly some part of me that knew (my) actions … had been harmful, but there was another part of me that was seeking to rationalize it,” Jacobs said.

He told the court how it was during these “painful” sessions that he realized the gravity of what he’d done. “You can’t go back and you can’t undo (what you’ve done,)” Jacobs said, wiping tears from his eyes.

Jacobs began his testimony by outlining his sexual history as a teenager and young adult.

He told the court about feeling bullied by fellow classmates into committing “the sin of self abuse” at age 15, as it was a major topic of conversation among male students at his Catholic high school in Columbus.

After earning a master’s degree in theology from University of Innsbruck in Austria, he returned to Ohio as a 26-year-old, where he ultimately had a series of inappropriate experiences with teenage boys.

“There was some part of me that had never gotten past being 15 years of age.  I had become focused on this first experience of masturbation,” he said. “There was a part of me that was still acting like I was back in high school.”

Jacobs is charged with sexual assault, two counts of sexual interference of a person under 14 and touching a young person for a sexual purpose.

The charges involve three minors under the age of 14, with alleged incidents spanning September 1996 to June 2001, all within Saanich.

He resigned from his post at St. Joseph the Worker parish in Saanich in 2002 after the incidents from Ohio came to light.

Jacobs’ testimony was expected to continue Tuesday.

Charge remains

Earlier in the day Monday, Considine asked Justice Gropper to acquit Jacobs of the single count of touching a young person for a sexual purpose.

Considine argued that the victim of that alleged incident took the stand last week and described the incident in question as “tickling,” and said he did not perceive the situation to be sexual. The defence also argued there was no direct evidence the victim was under 14 at the time.

Gropper dismissed the defence’s motion, saying the victim’s notion that there was no sexual intent does not conclude the tickling was or wasn’t done for a sexual purpose.

“It’s not the victim’s perception, it is the intention of the accused which must be considered,” Gropper said.

She said she must consider both direct and circumstantial evidence in considering the charge of touching a young person for a sexual purpose.

kslavin@saanichnews.com

 

Just Posted

These are just a handful of Vancouver Island’s missing person cases. Clockwise from top left: Lisa Marie Young, Lindsey Nicholls, Micheal Dunahee, Jesokah Adkens, Belinda Cameron and Emma Fillipoff. (File photos courtesy of family members and police departments)
Gorge skull fragment could bring closure to one Greater Victoria missing person case

Skeletal remains found in Greater Victoria have not yet been identified

(Black Press Media file photo)
UPDATE: Sooke Road reopens after gas leak at Colwood Corners

SD62 warns afternoon buses could be delayed

SIG
Policing amid pandemic challenging, says Sooke’s top cop

Mounties document reduction in property crime and impaired driving

Victoria police will be working to arrest as many people with active warrants as possible during #VicPDWarrantWednesday May 12. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria police aim to make sweeping arrests during #VicPDWarrantWednesday

Officers working to locate people with active arrest warrants

B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains in the B.C. legislature, May 13, 2019. (Hansard TV)
VIDEO: B.C. to provide 3 days of sick pay for COVID-19 absences

Province will support employers on cost, labour minister says

Brad MacKenzie, advocacy chair for the ALS Society of B.C., says having research projects in the province allows people here to have access to cutting-edge treatments now being developed. (B.C. government video)
B.C. funds research chair for Lou Gehrig’s disease at UBC

Pandemic has cut off patient access to international projects

This house at 1514 Trumpeter Cres. in Courtenay is currently for sale, with a disclaimer that the property was used in a cannabis grow operation in the past. Photo by Record staff
Drug trafficking at Vancouver Island residence nets over $250K forfeiture

Ruling comes from a search warrant executed in 2016 on Trumpeter Crescent home

In this Monday, March 15, 2021 file photo a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine is pictured in a pharmacy in Boulogne Billancourt, outside Paris. Questions remained Wednesday about the future of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in Canada, as Manitoba limited use of the shot and Ontario announced it planned to save an incoming shipment to use as second doses. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Christophe Ena, File
Questions remain about the future of the Oxford-AstraZeneca shot in Canada

More than two million Canadians have received AstraZeneca and 17 have been confirmed to have VITT

A Mountie issued B.C. RCMP’s first ticket for non-essential travel May 1. (Black Press Media files)
Driver ticketed, told to ‘return to Lower Mainland immediately’ by Vancouver Island police

The motorist was originally pulled over for driving-related offences May 1

Children walk back to their classroom while wearing masks and physical distancing at St. Barnabas Catholic School in Scarborough, Ont., in October, 2020. A group of B.C. teachers has issued an open letter calling for the relaxation of non-pharmaceutical interventions for children in B.C. schools. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)
Group of B.C. teachers calls for easing of pandemic measures for students

Teacher group says ‘response to COVID is out of balance to the cost our youth are paying’

Adam Hamdan has been living in Christina Lake since November 2020. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Man acquitted on terrorist charges given temporary residence in Canada

Adam Hamdan had been facing deportation to Jordan, where he holds citizenship through his Palestinian parents

Most Read