A priest who studied and worked in Columbus “had a series of inappropriate experiences with teenage boys” taking at least three of them “on overnight trips, intent on teaching them how to masturbate.” He also claims he was “bullied by fellow classmates into (masturbating) at his Catholic high school in Columbus” (according to news accounts this morning).
Fr. Phil Jacobs is on trial in Canada on charges that he sexually abused three boys in Victoria during the late 1990s.
Under oath yesterday, in open court, Jacobs admitted he hurt kids in Columbus
This new admission should spur Columbus Catholic officials to finally take action. Bishop Frederick Campbell should end his irresponsible silence and immediately reach out now to anyone else that has been hurt by Jacobs.
Doing this is prudent, because it could bring forward more victims, witnesses, whistleblowers and evidence that could help put Jacobs behind bars and away from kids.
Doing this is right, because it could help end some of the shame, confusion, suffering and self-blame that child sex abuse victims almost inevitably feel.
Doing this is good for the diocese, because it could help reverse decades of hurtful secrecy surrounding clergy child sex crimes and cover ups.
And doing this is easy, because the diocese has a public relations staff and dozens of parish bulletins and websites and employees that could help spread the simple message: “If you were hurt by Fr. Jacobs, please get help.”
Will Bishop Campbell find the courage to act? We strongly doubt it. Catholic officials have learned that doing little or nothing in clergy sex abuse cases will never result in them being disciplined in any way by their supervisors. Catholic officials continue to do little or nothing in clergy sex abuse cases.
So it’s crucial that other current and former Catholic church employees and members step up. Every single person who saw, suspected or suffered crimes by Fr. Jacobs or cover ups by Catholic officials must summon the strength to pick up the phone and call law enforcement. Otherwise, the tragic cycle of violence and devastation and deceit continues.
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