Letter to Bishop Campbell
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Dear Bishop Campbell:
We are members of a support group called SNAP (the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests). Our mission is to protect the vulnerable and heal the wounded. We are begging you to do this as well, by giving information to Canadian authorities about a proven predator priest who worked in your diocese.
On September 4, Fr. Phil J. Jacobs will be sentenced for sexually abusing a Canadian child. Last year, he admitted abuse incidents involving boys in Ohio, claiming he wanted “to teach (them) to masturbate.” (At least ten children have said he molested them.)
As you no doubt know, Fr. Jacobs spent time at four central Ohio Catholic facilities. According to the Columbus Dispatch, Fr. Jacobs worked “at St. Joseph the Worker School in the late 1990s and early 2000s. In central Ohio, he was at St. Anthony Parish on the North Side from 1975 to 1979, St. Philip the Apostle Parish on the East Side from 1979 to 1981, and St. Paul the Apostle Parish in Westerville from 1986 to 1989. He also taught philosophy at the Pontifical College Josephinum on the Far North Side from 1986 to 1993.”
(According to ABC6/FOX28 News, Fr. Jacobs also worked at St Philip's Episcopal Church, on Woodland Drive, and St Anthony Parish School, on Urban Drive, in Columbus.)
Time is short, but we urge you to help make sure Fr. Jacobs is kept away from kids for as long as possible. Specifically, we urge you to
--give Fr. Jacobs’ personnel file to the prosecutor as soon as possible,
--write the judge, begging her to lock up the predator for “as long as possible,” and
--use your vast resources (parish bulletins, diocesan website, pulpit announcements) to urge your flock to do likewise.
You can make a difference here, Bishop. Often, predator priests like Fr. Jacobs get top notch lawyers. Often, they exploit legal technicalities. Often, they get short sentences and later abuse again.
You may be able to prevent this.
By making a strong public plea, and by taking prompt action, you might well bring forward more victims, witnesses, whistleblowers or ask anyone “who many have seen, suspected or suffered” the cleric’s crimes or church cover ups - to call law enforcement officials immediately, so that Fr. Jacobs might face new charges or be jailed longer.
So please, Bishop, announce Jacobs’ impending sentencing at masses this weekend, and prod anyone with information about his crimes to also contact the judge and prosecutor.
We believe you and other Catholic officials have a moral and civic duty to actively help law enforcement prosecute and convict predator priests through “aggressive outreach” using parish bulletins, church websites and pulpit announcements. Bishops recruit, educate, ordain, hire, train, transfer and often protect child molesting clerics. So bishops can’t merely suspend or defrock such predators and do little or nothing else to safeguard kids.
In the vast majority of child sex abuse cases, offenders are charged with only a fraction of the crimes they actually commit. So a vigorous public awareness effort by church employees – from bishops and monsignors to secretaries and custodians – can indeed make a major difference in how successful prosecutors and judges can be in keeping predators away from kids.
Please act now, Bishop. Use your information and clout to make a difference.