Father Phil Jacobs’s evidence was rehearsed and calculated and in some cases, simply not believable, the Crown argued Wednesday during final submissions in B.C. Supreme Court.
Jacobs, 63, who was parish priest at St. Joseph the Worker in Saanich from 1997 to 2002, is charged with sexual assault and sexual touching of a young person under the age of 14.
He is also charged with sexually touching a second youth under the age of 14 and, while in a position of trust, sexually touching a third young person.
The offences are alleged to have occurred between September 1996 and June 30, 2001.
“He is either lying to himself or to the court or both when he says that the touching of [the two youths] was not for a sexual purpose,” said prosecutor Clare Jennings, who described the priest as evasive, argumentative and defensive.
Jacobs has denied the charges, but he is the one who lacks credibility, Jennings said.
She urged Justice Miriam Gropper to accept the evidence of the first witness as reliable and credible and reject Jacobs’s evidence.
The witness testified that Jacobs first touched him on his upper back, then progressed to touching, squeezing and rubbing his buttocks.
The witness testified that Jacobs took him to separate rooms, placed his hand in the boy’s pants and touched his penis and testicles. This happened fewer than 12 times.
The witness also testified that when he was moving books from the church to the school, Jacobs touched him first. The priest then put the boy’s hand down his own pants.
“The touching was skin to skin under clothing,” Jennings said.
Although the witness had trouble with dates and details, that’s not unusual considering he was between 10 and 12 at the time, Jennings said. He also testified he was scared and confused because he was taught that priests were good and could be trusted.
The evidence proves Jacobs touched the second youth for a sexual purpose when he tickled him on his bed in the rectory, Jennings said. The tickling was part of a grooming effort Jacobs engaged in with the second and third youth, she said.
Tickling is not always for a sexual purpose. But in this case, Jacobs suggested the boy take a shower, then took him to his bedroom and remained in the bedroom while he undressed.
When the boy was only in his underwear, Jacobs picked him up, threw him on the bed, got on the bed with him and began tickling him.
He was still in the bedroom when the boy came out of the shower, and commented that it was good the boy was comfortable with his body.
The third complainant testified that he lay on the couch with his legs in Jacobs’s lap while being tutored. Jacobs rubbed his leg until he reached a point where his hand was rubbing into the groin and back out again. He testified that Jacobs “rubbed right into the crack of his groin and the back of his hand briefly brushed his testicles.”
Jacobs testified that he has no recollection of the touching.
“There can be no plausible suggestion that an adult male repeatedly placed his hand in the groin of a young boy, such that the back of his hand touched his testicles, unintentionally or accidentally,” Jennings said.
Jacobs groomed the youths in the same manner as he groomed two young men in the U.S., Jennings charged. He formed close trusting relationships with the second and third complainants, he isolated them in the rectory and he asked them about masturbation. At one point, he told the second complainant to flex his penis. He also asked both boys to move an envelope containing pornography in the rectory.
Although Jacobs was monitored by the Catholic church after allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced in the U.S., he never told his supervisors he was spending time alone with boys.
He regularly invited young men to the rectory and stocked a fridge with candy and pop for them, Jennings noted.
She urged Gropper to convict Jacobs on all four counts.
Gropper will deliver her judgment Feb. 25 at 9 a.m.
© Copyright 2013