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Priest, formerly in Saanich and Sooke, committed to trial on child sex charges

Nov 11 2011

After a two-day preliminary inquiry, Father Phil Jacobs has been committed to stand trial on four charges involving sexual offences against children.

Jacobs, a Catholic priest from the U.S. who spent six years working in Sooke and Saanich, was arrested by Canada Border Services Agency and charged in August 2010 with one count of sexual assault, two counts of sexual interference and one count of sexual exploitation against three Greater Victoria children under the age of 14.

The alleged offences occurred between 1996 and 2002, when Jacobs was a priest in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Victoria.

The identities of the alleged victims are protected by court order.

Police have not released the ages or sexes of the victims, other than to say they were all younger than 14 at the time of the alleged offences.

Jacobs, who was released on a $25,000 surety, is to have a trial date set on Nov. 30 in B.C. Supreme Court.

Evidence at the preliminary inquiry, which took place in Victoria provincial court, is under a publication ban.

During the proceedings, Jacobs was represented by Victoria lawyers Chris Considine and David Lyon.

Jacobs served as parish priest at St. Joseph the Worker Church on West Burnside Road in Saanich from 1998 to 2002.

Before that, he spent two years serving the St. Rose of Lima congregation in Sooke. Jacobs resigned from his position at St. Joseph in April 2002 after information was made public that he had been dismissed from a church in Columbus, Ohio, in the mid1990s amid allegations of misconduct.

Saanich police began investigating Jacobs in 2002, but there was insufficient evidence at that time to proceed with a charge.

However, in 2009, while Jacobs was living abroad, Saanich police received complaints that led to an investigation into his conduct as a priest at St.Joseph's.

The investigation resulted in charges being approved on July 9, 2010, and the Canadawide warrant that led to Jacobs's arrest.

ldickson@timescolonist.com

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