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Clergy abuse investigation continues; Former UP priest back in court this month

Gary Jacobs is a former priest of parishes in Ontonagon and Dickinson counties.
Gary Allen Jacobs mugshot/FILE
Gary Allen Jacobs mugshot/FILE(WLUC)
Published: Dec. 7, 2020 at 3:05 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WLUC) - Two of the men previously charged in Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s ongoing clergy abuse investigation appeared in court last week.

Gary Jacobs, a former priest in the Upper Peninsula’s Ontonagon and Dickinson counties, and Gary Berthiaume, a former priest at Our Lady of Sorrows in Farmington, were both back in court for charges related to the Michigan Department of Attorney General’s ongoing clergy abuse investigation.

“The work of our clergy abuse investigation team has been critical in moving these cases forward, bringing us that much closer to justice,” Nessel said. “My office remains committed to carefully reviewing all credible allegations of sexual abuse on behalf of all victims who come forward to tell their story.”

Jacobs, 75, faces a total of 10 criminal sexual conduct charges in five cases. He was arrested in January in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he lived.

Multiple motion hearings have concluded in Jacobs’ cases, including a Walker hearing on Friday in which a request to suppress the priest’s confession was denied in Ontonagon County Circuit Court. In addition, a request to break up the four cases in Ontonagon County into two trials was granted, as was a motion to let in all the proposed other acts witnesses, which allows witnesses to testify in both cases in Ontonagon County.

Jacobs is scheduled to appear in Ontonagon County Circuit Court on Dec. 18 for a pretrial hearing before Judge Michael Pope.

Jacobs is also currently scheduled for a pretrial conference by telephone on Jan. 4, 2021 in Dickinson County Circuit Court, with Judge Christopher Ninomiya presiding over that case.

Berthiaume was back in court Wednesday for another probable cause hearing. Berthiaume’s bond stands at $50,000 cash/surety and a request to leave the state to go back home to Illinois was denied again by Judge James Brady of the 47th District Court in Farmington Hills.

A preliminary examination has been tentatively scheduled for 10 a.m. Feb. 20, 2021.

Berthiaume was charged with one count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct, a 15-year felony. He was arrested in late September in Illinois, waived extradition and was returned to Michigan in October where he was arraigned on the charge.

For more information on the Attorney General’s clergy abuse investigation or to submit information, visit the department’s website. Information may also be provided by calling the investigation hotline at 844-324-3374 (8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday) or send information by email.

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