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Former priest arraigned in Ontonagon County on new CSC charges

(Gary Allen Jacobs mugshot/File)
(Gary Allen Jacobs mugshot/File)(WLUC)
Published: Mar. 11, 2020 at 10:16 AM EDT
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A former Upper Michigan priest is in jail and facing more charges in a criminal sexual conduct investigation.

According to the Michigan Attorney General's Office, Gary Allen Jacobs was formally arraigned late Tuesday in Ontonagon County District Court on two additional criminal sexual conduct cases that he reportedly committed in the 1980s while serving as a priest under the Catholic Diocese of Marquette in the Upper Peninsula.

Jacobs is currently in the Ontonagon County Jail. The court denied him bond.

on seven additional criminal sexual conduct charges in three separate cases that reportedly occurred in Ontonagon and Dickinson counties.

Since January, two new victims came forward making sexual assault reports against Jacobs, 74, now of Albuquerque, New Mexico. In the two cases, he is charged with three criminal sexual conduct counts stemming from incidents that reportedly occurred between the dates of Jan. 1, 1981 and Dec. 31, 1984 in Ontonagon County.

He’s being charged with two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct involving a child between the ages of 13 and 15, and one count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct involving a child between the ages of 13 and 15. Both cases arise from his abuse of his authority status as the victims’ priest.

Each first-degree criminal sexual conduct charge is punishable by up to life in prison and a lifetime of electronic monitoring, while the second-degree criminal sexual conduct charge is punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

Jacobs was arrested Jan. 17 in New Mexico on three previously charged cases of criminal sexual conduct. Rather than await extradition from New Mexico, Jacobs voluntarily returned to Michigan to be arraigned on the new charges.

“The progress this office is making with regard to clergy abuse is encouraging, though troubling at the same time,” said Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel. “As my investigators continue to uncover more potential suspects, my thoughts are with the growing number of victims who have also come forward. My team will continue to talk with those who allege clergy abuse and conduct our investigations thoroughly as we pursue the truth.”

Jacobs is scheduled for a preliminary conference at 1:30 p.m. March 23 and a preliminary exam at 10:30 a.m. March 30. Both are in Ontonagon County District Court. His bond will be addressed again at the preliminary examination.

Following the announcement of the new charges, the Diocese of Marquette reaffirmed its commitment to cooperate with the Attorney General’s investigation.

The diocese says Jacobs, a priest of the Diocese of Marquette, was removed from ministry in 1988. He moved out of state and never returned to ministry. After his removal from ministry, complaints of sexual misconduct were received by the diocese. He was dismissed from the clerical state (laicized) in 2010.

“On behalf of the Church, I apologize to all those who have been harmed by any bishop, priest or deacon, and renew my commitment to reach out and bring Christ’s peace and healing," said Bishop John Doerfler, in a statement on Jan. 17. "There is no excuse for what happened to you. You are in my thoughts and prayers, and I am willing to journey with you to find Christ’s peace and healing.”

Bishop Doerfler encourages anyone who has been abused in the diocese to contact Michigan’s Attorney General to report the abuse. The Michigan Attorney General’s Office can be contacted at its toll-free reporting hotline at (844) 324-3374 (Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.) or by email at aginvestigations@michigan.gov.