Protest held in Ohio before sentencing of Saanich priest

Phil Jacobs worked as priest in Columbus in 1970s and 1980s. He's charged in B.C. with touching a young person for a sexual purpose

Phil Jacobs, the former Saanich priest found guilty earlier this year of touching a young person for a sexual purpose, is expected to be sentenced next week in B.C. Supreme Court.

Jacobs worked as priest at St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Saanich from 1997 to 2002. He left his post in Greater Victoria after allegations surfaced of inappropriate behaviour involving boys during his time working in Columbus, Ohio in the 1970s.

He was charged by Saanich police in 2010 for incidents that were alleged to have occurred while he worked in Saanich.

On Wednesday, members of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests protested in downtown Columbus, attempting to urge B.C. Supreme Court Justice J. Miriam Gropper to hand down a harsh sentence, according to  The Columbus Dispatch.

“We urge victims to come forward quickly, report this to the Canadian judge who will be sentencing Father Jacobs next week,” SNAP member Carol Zamonski told the The Dispatch, while protesting in front of St. Joseph Cathedral in Columbus. “It seems that the maximum sentence might be merely five months, with no accountability that we can see for his future access to people that he might prey on.”

Zamonski also called upon the Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus to encourage other victims to speak out, The Dispatch reported.

According to The Dispatch, the Diocese of Columbus has received about 10 credible reports of abuse by Jacobs over the years, and all allegations were shared with police.

Jacobs admitted during testimony in December that he had sexually abused two boys in Ohio, but had attended therapy to control his compulsion to instruct boys on masturbation. He told the court he had a series of inappropriate experiences with teenage boys involving camping trips and masturbation.

Jacobs’ guilty charge stems from testimony regarding tutoring sessions at Jacobs’ house on the grounds of St. Joseph the Worker Parish. The victim said he ended up in a position of laying on the couch with his legs over Jacobs’ lap.

During testimony, the young man told the court that Jacobs’ right hand would slide up and down the witness’s left thigh over his pants – “he went from my knee to my groin back and forth … the back of his hand touched my genitals.”

Gropper agreed with the Crown’s assertion that Jacobs’ touching of the victim’s genitals was “deliberate,” and not accidental brushing.

During a sentencing hearing in July, Crown prosecutor Clare Jennings argued for a four- to six-month prison sentence for Jacobs, following by two years probation. He would also be put on the National Sex Offender Registry, and be included in the National DNA Data Bank.

Defence attorney Chris Considine asked Gropper to consider a conditional sentence, given the incident Jacobs was found guilty of wasn’t “more physical, long-lasting or aggressive” compared to other similar crimes.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Victoria hired Jacobs despite knowing he had been relieved of his duties at a church in Columbus, Ohio, in the early 1990s after admitting to inappropriately touching a teenage boy in the 1980s.

Jacobs’ sentencing happens Wednesday (Sept. 4) at the Victoria Law Courts.

– with files from The Columbus Dispatch and Saanich News

kslavin@saanichnews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Andrew Swanson was arrested Wednesday after he was wanted for an alleged choking assault and for obstructing police. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Victoria police arrest Andrew Swanson on warrants for alleged choking assault, obstruction

A member of the public spotted Swanson and called 911 before police came and made the arrest

(Black Press Media file photo)
Youth sustains minor injuries in stabbing at Saanich Plaza

Suspect under age of 16 taken into custody, no risk to the public, police say

Al Kowalko shows off the province’s first electric school bus, running kids to three elementary and two secondary schools on the West Shore. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
West Shore proud owners of B.C.’s first electric school bus

No emissions, no fuel costs and less maintenance will offset the $750K upfront expense

A B.C. Centre for Disease Control map showing new COVID-19 cases by local health area for the week of April 25-May 1. (BCCDC image)
Vancouver Island’s COVID-19 case counts continue to trend down

Fewer than 200 active cases on the Island, down from highs of 500-plus earlier this spring

Sue Hodgson returns as publisher of the Peninsula News Review starting June 1. (Courtesy Sue Hodgson)
Peninsula News Review welcomes back Sue Hodgson as publisher

Dale Naftel takes helm of Oak Bay News as publisher

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O’Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of May 4

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: Do you plan to travel on the Victoria Day long weekend?

It’s the unofficial start to the summer season. A time of barbecues,… Continue reading

Starting Tuesday, May 11, B.C. adults born in 1981 and earlier will be able to register for a vaccine dose. (Haley Ritchie/Black Press Media)
BC adults 40+ eligible to book COVID-19 vaccinations next week

Starting Tuesday, people born in 1981 and earlier will be able to schedule their inoculation against the virus

Parks Canada and Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks dig the washed up Princess M out from sand along the south shore of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Rescue attempt costs man his boat off Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Coast Guard response questioned after volunteer responder’s speedboat capsizes in heavy swells

Road sign on Highway 1 west of Hope warns drivers of COVID-19 essential travel road checks on the highways into the B.C. Interior. (Jessica Peters/Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. residents want travel checks at Alberta border, MLA says

Police road checks in place at highways out of Vancouver area

People line up for COVID-19 vaccination at a drop-in clinic at Cloverdale Recreation Centre on Wednesday, April 27, 2021. Public health officials have focused efforts on the Fraser Health region. (Aaron Hinks/Peace Arch News)
B.C. reports 1st vaccine-induced blood clot; 684 new COVID cases Thursday

Two million vaccine doses reached, hospital cases down

More than 6,000 camping reservations in British Columbia were cancelled as a result of a provincial order limiting travel between health regions. (Unsplash)
1 in 4 camping reservations cancelled in B.C. amid COVID-19 travel restrictions

More than 6,500 BC Parks campsite reservations for between April 19 and May 25 have been revoked

Most Read