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Former U.P. priest to serve prison time in abuse plea

LANSING, MI--   Work by the Michigan Attorney General’s clergy abuse investigation team has resulted in another successful plea agreement and will lead to prison for a former priest in the Upper Peninsula. 

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

As part of the offer, Jacobs was required to plead guilty to one count, and the highest charge, on each of the four cases he faced. This resulted in admission of guilt on three counts of CSC 1st degree and one count of CSC 2nd degree.  

Other aspects of the plea agreement include: 

  • Jacobs will serve between 8 and 15 years on each count, which will run concurrently; 
  • Lifetime sex offender registration on the 3 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; 
  • Sex offender counseling; and
  • Lifetime electronic monitoring when released.  

“This plea agreement and subsequent prison time is the culmination of resolute work by our clergy abuse investigation team, but that work would not be possible without the courageous victims who came forward,” Attorney General Dana Nessel said. “This sentence will not erase the pain Mr. Jacobs inflicted on those who trusted him, but I hope our pursuit of justice can offer some sense of relief as their vulnerability led to this accountability.” 
A sentencing date is set for Tuesday, May 25 at 10 a.m. 

Jacobs faces a fifth case in Dickinson County, where the same plea agreement is planned. That hearing is set for May 3. 

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. 

Nicole was born near Detroit but has lived in the U.P. most of her life. She graduated from Marquette Senior High School and attended Michigan State and Northern Michigan Universities, graduating from NMU in 1993 with a degree in English.