Priest with Columbus Tie Receives House Arrest
By JoAnne Viviano
September 6, 2013
A priest who once worked in central Ohio has been sentenced in Canada to two months under house arrest and three additional months under curfew for sexually assaulting a teenager in British Columbia.
The Rev. Phil Jacobs, 63, will be on two years of probation after serving the sentence and must meet criteria that include 50 hours of community service, counseling, limited contact with young people and registering as a sex offender, said his attorney, Chris Considine.
Jacobs was found guilty in February of sexually touching a person between the ages of 14 and 18. On Wednesday, Justice J. Miriam Gropper said he could avoid jail because he is a low to moderate risk to re-offend, the Saanich News reported.
Court testimony showed that Jacobs touched the genitals of a boy he was tutoring at St. Joseph the Worker School in Saanich, British Columbia, where he served in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Jacobs said he unintentionally brushed the boy’s groin.
Prosecutors had sought a sentence of four to six months in jail, said Neil MacKenzie, communications counsel for the criminal justice branch of the British Columbia Ministry of Justice.
Jacobs has been involved in academic studies and research for several years and has no intention of working as a priest again or with adolescent boys, Considine said.
A spokesman at the Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus said Bishop Frederick Campbell was not available for comment.
In central Ohio, Jacobs served at St. Anthony Parish on the North Side from 1975 to 1979; St. Philip the Apostle Parish on the East Side from 1979 to 1981; and St. Paul the Apostle Parish in Westerville from 1986 to 1989. He also taught philosophy at the Pontifical College Josephinum from 1986 to 1993.
During his trial in British Columbia in December and January, Jacobs testified that he took teen boys on overnight trips when he worked in Ohio, intending to introduce them to masturbation.
A spokesman for the Diocese of Columbus told The Dispatch when Jacobs was arrested in 2010 that diocesan officials had received about 10 credible reports of abuse by him in central Ohio and that all had been passed on to police.