Embattled Priest Will Leave Diocese in Canada

By Dennis M. Mahoney
Columbus Dispatch (Ohio)
May 1, 2002

The Rev. Phillip Jacobs is quitting as a priest in British Columbia, where he went after being dismissed by the Columbus Roman Catholic Diocese for molesting a teen-age boy.

Bishop Raymond Roussin of the Victoria Diocese confirmed yesterday that Jacobs is resigning by mutual agreement.

"He obviously will not be able to function in a parish again," Roussin said.

Jacobs, who has been staying at his mother's East Side home since the story of his past surfaced over the weekend, could not be reached for comment.

But he issued a statement through the Victoria Diocese: "In view of the turmoil and anguish these revelations are causing in the parish and the diocese, and because the needs of the church are greater than any needs of any individual priest, I have agreed to resign my pastoral responsibilities."

Jacobs had been pastor of St. Joseph the Worker Church in Victoria since 1996, two years after he went to the diocese, Roussin said. It is one of the larger parishes in the diocese, with several hundred families, he said.

"He was very efficient," Roussin said. "He was dynamic in the sense that he brought people together in a way that had not been the case in that parish for years."

Jacobs was appointed to St. Joseph by Bishop Remy De Roo, who retired in 1999.

Parishioners were told of Jacobs' background this past weekend. Roussin said some were upset by the news.

Had parishioners been told of Jacobs' past before his appointment, the bishop said, the appointment would not have occurred.

Roussin said he did not know whether Jacobs will seek to be removed from the priesthood.

Columbus Bishop James A. Griffin said last week that he dismissed Jacobs from the diocese after concluding he'd been guilty of "improper sexual touching of a person who was still a minor."

He said there had been other complaints against Jacobs. In Saturday's Dispatch, two central Ohio men -- Doug Jacobs of Gahanna, a cousin of Phillip Jacobs'; and Tim Kreider of Westerville -- accused the priest of molesting them in the late 1970s.

Griffin said that he had removed Phillip Jacobs from his teaching position at the Pontifical College Josephinum, the Far North Side seminary where he was vice rector in the College of Liberal Arts, and had him enter therapy.

The molestation was not reported to law-enforcement authorities at the request of the victim's family, diocesan spokesman Tom Berg said last week.

Griffin said Jacobs received "a clean bill of health," but he decided to not allow him to return to the diocese.

Jacobs applied to the Victoria Diocese and was admitted by De Roo. The Columbus diocese gave Jacobs' records to the Victoria Diocese at the time, Griffin said.


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