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

New COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island by local health area for the week of June 6-12. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control image)
New COVID-19 cases up on Island, but health officials say trends going right way

There were 22 new COVID-19 cases in Greater Victoria last week after just four the week before

Helicopter crew members onboard HMCS Halifax conduct inflight refueling during Operation Reassurance in the Mediterranean Sea in 2020. Some of the military choppers flying around Greater Victoria recently are taking part in a special ops training exercise. (Photo by Cpl. Braden Trudeau/Trinity-Formation Imaging Services)
Special Ops exercise brings influx of helicopters to Victoria

Ontario-based air force unit comes to Victoria to train over ocean

(Black Press Media file photo)
School parking problems plague Oak Bay residents

Need exceeds official requirements for parking at St. Michaels school

In January 2019, Grade 5 students from Glenlyon Norfolk School, accompanied by Grade 11 student Anastasia Castro, gave a presentation to Oak Bay council seeking a ban on plastic bags in the district. (Black Press Media file photo)
Oak Bay set to survey businesses on single-use plastic products

Survey gathers information ahead of expected legislation on provincial, federal level

There were 255 babies born in Victoria in May 2021. (Black Press Media file photo)
Pandemic baby boom makes for a busier Vancouver Island Father’s Day

Victoria’s 255 babies born in May up almost 10 per cent over last year

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: When was the last time you visited the mainland?

The films are again lighting the screens at local theatres, the wine… Continue reading

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 June 15

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

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

B.C. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth and Attorney General David Eby attend opening of the first government-run B.C. Cannabis Store, Kamloops, Oct. 19, 2018. (B.C. government)
B.C. government to allow home cannabis delivery starting July 15

Added convenience expected to persuade buyers to ‘go legal’

The first suspension bridge is the tallest in Canada, with a second suspension bridge just below it. The two are connected by a trail that’s just over 1 km. (Claire Palmer photo)
PHOTOS: The highest suspension bridges in Canada just opened in B.C.

The Skybridge in Golden allows visitors to take in views standing at 130 and 80 metres

Most Read