NEWS

Victoria priest given conditional sentence for sex charges

09/04/2013 09:52 EDT | Updated 11/04/2013 05:12 EST
A support group for people abused by priests says it is disappointed with the conditional sentence handed to a former Roman Catholic priest in Victoria who sexually touched a teenage boy.

Phil Jacobs will serve five months of house arrest, followed by two years probation.

A spokesperson for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests said the sentence does not reflect the damage Jacobs has done.

Leona Huggins said the crime has shaken the faith of the victim, his family and members of St. Joseph's the Worker Church in Victoria, where Jacobs was a parish priest from 1997 until 2001.

"I'm baffled that the courts don't understand the nature of this crime," she said. "This is a very minimal sentence, but it really shows a lack of understanding."

Victoria Bishop Richard Gagnon says the diocese will not allow the U.S.-born Jacobs to return to work as a parish priest in any country.

"He could not function in another diocese without permission from this diocese and, under the circumstances, that permission would not be given," Gagnon said.

But Huggins said she is worried Jacobs will be allowed to resume his career.

"The moral stance of the church should be, 'We don't want these men working with our children,'" she said.

Jacobs found work in British Columbia despite previous allegations involving boys in the United States.

He resigned his position in Victoria in 2002, after it was made public that he had been dismissed from a church in Columbus, Ohio, during the mid-1990s following allegations of misconduct there.

Jacobs was arrested by the Canada Border Services Agency in August 2010 while entering the country at the Victoria airport.

According to his lawyer, Jacobs plans to return to the U.S. after serving his sentence in B.C.

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