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

This photo of Cheryl-Lynn Townsin and her daughter, Lexi, is part of Townsin’s documentary, RARE HUMANS - Turning Hope into Action, her capstone project for her graduate degree from Royal Roads University. (Photo courtesy of Cheryl-Lynn Townsin)
Greater Victoria mother’s grief fuels documentary of ‘Turning Hope into Action’

Lexi, 6, died in 2019 from Blau Syndrome and is among the children documented

This dead fir tree is one of many in Mount Douglas Park. Nine dead trees will be removed from the Douglas Creek site starting March 8 to make way for the construction of a new pedestrian bridge. (Photo courtesy Jason Clarke)
Nine dead, hazardous trees to be removed from Saanich park ahead of bridge construction

Felling begins March 8, minor trail interruptions expected in Mount Douglas Park

A survey by Statistics Canada finds Black Canadians earn less than non-visible minority Canadians despite having higher levels of education. (The Canadian Press file photo)
COVID-19 worsened unemployment picture for Black Canadians

Black Canadians also more likely to suffer other hardships

The City of Victoria filed a petition with the Supreme Court of B.C. March 2 to have it clarify whether, under the Trustee Act, Beacon Hill Park can be used for temporary sheltering. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria asks court to clarify if Beacon Hill Park can be used for sheltering

City of Victoria filed petition to Supreme Court of B.C. March 2

Older rental apartments are prime candidates for renovations, and could result in lost affordable housing stock. (Zoë Ducklow photo)
B.C.’s renoviction overhaul a good start, but won’t preserve affordable stock, lawyer says

And still no protection for people who can’t pay rent due to COVID-19

(Photo by Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze)
B.C. WHL teams to hit the ice with Kelowna, Kamloops hub cities

Kelowna, Kamloops centres chosen to host B.C. WHL teams for 24-game regular season

The victim of the homicide on Cowichan Lake Road early Monday morning was 17 years old, and was stabbed in the incident. (File photo)
Duncan homicide victim was 17 years old

RCMP report that teenager was stabbed

(Black Press file photo)
Agassiz boy, 11, dies from ‘extensive injuries’: Homicide team

Agassiz RCMP were called out Friday to assist with a child in medical distress

(File photo)
RCMP arrest man after report of gun-toting threat-maker near Parksville schools

43-year-old man taken into custody; students at nearby schools were asked to stay inside

The machines are akin to ATMs and allow drug users at risk of overdose to get hydromorphone pills dispensed to them after their palm has been scanned to identify its unique vein pattern. (CANADIAN PRESS)
Feds dole out $3.5M for ‘vending machines’ to dispense safer opioids in B.C.

The machines are located in four cities across Canada, including Vancouver and Victoria

Kelowna’s lakefront visitor centre is one of 130 around the province. Tourism businesses have been hardest hit by COVID-19 restrictions on travel. (Destination B.C.)
Tourism, small business getting COVID-19 help, B.C. minister says

$300M grant program has delivered $50 million so far

Most Read