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

Elaine Kirwin in her Expedia Cruises office talks about the future of travel. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
Sidney travel agency charts course through pandemic

Owner of Expedia Cruises in Sidney expects smooth sailing ahead once travel restrictions lift

Oak Bay Rotary Club member Lorna Curtis takes over as District Governor of Rotary District 5020 on July 1. (Courtesy Lorna Curtis)
Former Oak Bay recreation director goes international with Rotary

Lorna Curtis takes over as district governor on July 1

Deep Cove Elementary School principal Shelley Hardcastle (right) and vice-principal Mary Kaercher help to restock Reay Creek with fish – in this case, coho fry – after a recent bleach spill killed hundreds of fish. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
North Saanich’s Deep Cove Elementary School helps to restock Sidney’s Reay Creek

Restocking followed bleach spill that killed hundreds of fish in creek

A new report pegs the annual cost of hiring a third party to monitor use of pickleball courts in North Saanich at $12,000. (Black Press Media file photo).
North Saanich could end up hiring third party to monitor pickleball courts

Other options up for consideration include use of cameras and timed locks

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

Most Read