Former U.P. priest sentenced in abuse case


ONTONAGON, Mich. (WJMN) – UPDATE may 27, 2021 – In a release from the Michigan Attorney General’s Office, an Ontonagon County judge handed down the harshest prison sentence yet in the Michigan Attorney General’s clergy abuse investigation. 

Below is the release from the AG’s office:

Last month, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced a plea agreement with Gary Jacobs, a former priest in the Upper Peninsula who faced cases in both Ontonagon and Dickinson Counties. The plea hearing in Dickinson County happened earlier this month. 

The Ontonagon sentencing, which happened before Circuit Court Judge Michael Pope earlier this week, involves guilty pleas on three counts of criminal sexual conduct 1st degree and one count of criminal sexual conduct 2nd degree.   

As reached in the plea agreement, Jacobs was sentenced between eight and 15 years on each count, which will run concurrently. 

Additionally, Jacobs will be required to complete: 

  • lifetime sex offender registration related to the CSC 1st degree counts; 
  • tier II registration on the CSC 2nd degree charge; 
  • sex offender counseling; and 
  • lifetime electronic monitoring when released. 

“A lengthy prison sentence will never erase the pain Mr. Jacobs inflicted on those who trusted him, but it serves as an example of our pursuit of justice related to clergy abuse and, hopefully, can provide some sense of relief,” Nessel said. “We are indebted to those who came forward to make him accountable for his actions. Their courage to speak up is what drove these proceedings, so that while justice was delayed, it was certainly not denied.“ 

It was also important to the Attorney General’s clergy abuse team that survivors of Jacobs’ abuse be heard if they so chose. Nine people submitted or read victim impact statements during the sentencing.  

“I believe child sexual abuse is worse than murder. Once you are dead you are finished. When you are abused, you endure the mental anguish for the rest of your life. The sexual abuse that [Gary Jacobs] inflicted on me has interfered and destroyed my life. The ripple effects of this man’s crime against me as a boy are still present and he must be held accountable by serving his maximum sentence,” one survivor said. 

Two of the survivors were willing to share their full statements while staying anonymous. 

You can read the statements by clicking the links to each below: 

  1. Jacobs victim impact statement 1 
  1. Jacobs victim impact statement 2 

A sentencing date in Dickinson County is set for Friday, July 2nd at 12 p.m. EST. That guilty plea involves one count of criminal sexual conduct 2nd degree. 

MAY 14, 2021 – In a release from the Michigan Attorney General’s Office, former priest Gary Jacobs pleaded guilty to the remaining sex abuse case against him.

Last month, Gary Jacobs, 75, pleaded guilty to four counts of criminal sexual conduct in Ontonagon County.

Friday afternoon, Jacobs pleaded guilty to one count of criminal sexual conduct 2nd degree in Dickinson County. 

The plea agreement spans both counties. Other aspects of the deal include: 

  • Jacobs will serve between eight and 15 years on each of the five total counts, which will run concurrently; 
  • lifetime sex offender registration on the three counts of CSC 1st degree; 
  • tier II registration on the CSC 2nd degree charge; 
  • all victims – those involved in the charged cases and those who came forward since – can speak at sentencing if they wish;  
  • Jacobs will undergo sex offender counseling; and 
  • lifetime electronic monitoring when released. 

A sentencing date in Dickinson County is set for Friday, July 2nd at Noon. 

In Ontonagon County, Jacobs’ sentencing date is set for Tuesday, May 25 at 10 a.m. 

This plea agreement will result in the harshest prison sentence handed down thus far in the Michigan Attorney General’s clergy abuse investigation.   

Previously, former priests Patrick Casey and Brian Stanley pleaded guilty in their respective cases. 

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