Father Phil Jacobs denies abuse allegations

Warning: This story contains graphic details.

Father Phil Jacobs answered with a firm “Never” Monday when defence lawyer Chris Considine asked him if he had engaged in any of the alleged activities that resulted in four sexual charges against him involving boys.

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Jacobs, 63, took the stand Monday in B.C. Supreme Court as Considine began the defence’s case, which followed several days of testimony last week from prosecution witnesses.

Considine said Jacobs did not touch any of the three alleged victims with sexual intent, but advised Justice Miriam Gropper that Jacobs would tell her about “the demons that have haunted him” and how he has tried to deal with them through the years.

The offences of which he is accused — two counts of sexual interference involving a person under 14, one count of sexual assault and one count of touching a young person for a sexual purpose — are alleged to have taken place between September 1996 and June 2001. Jacobs was a parish priest from 1997 to 2002 at St. Joseph the Worker Catholic Church, and served as the administrator of Sooke’s St. Rose of Lima Parish before that.

Jacobs left St. Joseph in 2002 after information surfaced about incidents involving male youths in his native Ohio. He admitted Monday to arranging to get each boy alone in the U.S. incidents, because of what he perceived as a need to go back to his own sexually stunted youth.

His goal, he said, was to teach the boys to masturbate — something he had done five or six times with fellow students as a naive youth at a Columbus high school. The school was geared toward preparing boys for the priesthood.

“There was some part of me that had never gotten past being 15 years old,” Jacobs said to explain his actions with the youths. He said he was sexually underdeveloped as a young adolescent and also very self-conscious.

There was a compulsion to his behaviour regarding the two Ohio youths and masturbation, Jacobs said.

“The goal was for the person to become accustomed to this physiological act under my direction.”

Jacobs wound up at a Catholic treatment facility, and said he began to understand why he had done what he had done. He said he realized there was a pattern of behaviour that could be avoided.

His testimony continues today.

jwbell@timescolonist.com

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