Philip Jacobs is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 4 for deliberately touching a boy between the age of 14 and 18 for a sexual purpose, a crime committed while Jacobs was serving as a Catholic priest in Victoria.
Jacobs, 63, was the subject of a sentencing hearing Friday. He had been found guilty on a single charge in late February by B.C.Supreme Court Justice Miriam Gropper, and acquitted on three others that included one count of sexual assault and two of sexually touching a person under 14.
He faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison with the guilty finding.
Crown prosecutor Clare Jennings called for a jail term of four to six months for Jacobs followed by at least two years of probation. Defence lawyer Chris Considine said Jacobs should be given a conditional sentence, to be served in the community.
The charges brought against Jacobs were for alleged actions during his time at St. Joseph the Worker Church in Saanich, where he was parish priest from 1997-2002. His tenure there followed two years at St. Rose of Lima Church in Sooke.
Jacobs was found guilty of an offence that took place at St. Joseph’s between Jan. 1, 2000, and June 30, 2001.
Jacobs resigned from St. Joseph’s in 2002 after allegations of sexual misconduct became known from several years previous in Columbus, Ohio. He was not criminally charged in Ohio.
A Saanich police investigation was launched in 2002 but not enough evidence was found to charge Jacobs. A complaint was made against him in 2009, and he was eventually arrested in 2010.
He has been essentially living under house arrest since then, Considine said.
After Jennings and Considine made their presentations to the judge on Friday, Jacobs was allowed to rise in the prisoner’s box and speak. He said he has “continuing remorse” for what happened and for his “poor judgment” in allowing the situation that led to the charge against him.
He and the boy were alone in a room on a couch for a tutoring session. It was found that Jacobs touched the boy’s testicles.
Jacobs said he should have been more responsible in assessing how “problematic” the set of circumstances with the teenager could be.
Jennings said that Jacobs and the victim had developed a close relationship, so the offence was hard on the boy.
“The victim felt that he considered Mr. Jacobs to be like a father figure.”
The victim cried and put his head in his hands when the guilty verdict was given in February, but he did not attend Friday’s court session.
Jacobs is still a priest, but has not worked in a parish setting or had direct dealings with adolescent males for several years. Considine said Jacobs has been living a “very isolated” existence.