The case against a former Catholic priest accused of sexually abusing minors in Saanich will head to a voir dire phase of court proceedings in July.
Philip Jacobs served as a parish priest at St. Joseph the Worker on Burnside Road West from 1998 to 2002. A pretrial conference this week in Victoria Supreme Court set a date for the voir dire – a hearing to examine evidence or witness competency – for July 23.
In July 2010, Jacobs was charged with sexual assault, two counts of sexual interference of a person under 14 and touching a young person for a sexual purpose.
The charges involve three minors under 14, with alleged incidents spanning September 1996 to June 2001, all within Saanich. He was arrested Aug. 4, 2010 and released on $25,000 bail.
Jacobs worked part-time from 1996 to 1998 at St. Rose of Lima in Sooke before before taking the position of parish priest at St. Joseph the Worker.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Victoria hired Jacobs despite knowing he had been relieved of his duties at a church in Columbus, Ohio, in the early 1990s after admitting to inappropriately touching a teenage boy in the 1980s.
In a press release from 2002 regarding hiring Jacobs, the diocese had deemed “Jacobs was not a pedophile nor an abuser and he was no threat in the future.” After he was arrested in 2010, the diocese noted that it had tightened its hiring practices in 2005.
Saanich police said Jacobs was investigated as early as 2002 on allegations of abuse, but didn’t have enough evidence to recommend charges.
-with files from Kyle Slavin