OH - Ex-Columbus priest on trial for child sex charges

A support group for clergy sex abuse victims is urging Columbus Catholic officials to “aggressively seek out” anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered child sex crimes by a former priest who is facing criminal charges right now. 

Last Thursday, the trial of Philip Jacobs began in Victoria, British Columbia. He faces a count of sexual assault, two counts of sexual interference of a person under 14, and one count of touching a minor for a sexual purpose. The charges stem from three children who say that Jacobs abused them for five years beginning in 1996.

For almost 20 years, Jacobs worked as a Catholic priest in Columbus area. From 1975 to 1979, he worked at St. Anthony’s parish, and from 1979 to 1981 he worked at St. Philip’s parish. He took a five year leave of absence between 1981 and 1986 before returning to work at the Westerville parish of St. Paul’s. From 1986 to 1993, he was a professor at the Pontifical College Josephinium but in 1993 he went on sick leave, and then moved to Canada.

“We’re concerned because Fr. Jacobs worked in and around schools while he was in Columbus,” said David Clohessy. He is the director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, a Chicago based self-help group. “We want Columbus Bishop Frederick Campbell to go to each of these schools personally and determine if Jacobs hurt any kids there, too.”

SNAP is also urging Bishop Campbell to post notices on church websites about Fr. Jacobs, begging current and former church employees and members to come forward if they have any information on the alleged predator.

“Bishop Campbell has the resources to reach out to people who may have been hurt by Jacobs,” said Barbara Dorris, SNAP’s outreach director. “He needs to use those resources now and find others who might be able to help police and prosecutors.”

SNAP is encouraging anyone who may have seen or suspected crimes within the Diocese of Columbus to come forward to police and other secular groups to make reports.

“Silence is a predator’s best weapon,” said Dorris.

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