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Hearing on priest delayed

ONTONAGON — The preliminary hearing for a former Ontonagon County priest accused of molesting several children has been postponed indefinitely because of the reduced court calendar to combat COVID-19. 

Gary Jacobs, 74, who now lives in New Mexico, faces 10 counts of criminal sexual conduct in Ontonagon County. All stem from alleged incidents between 1981 and 1984 in which he is said to have abused his position as a priest.

His preliminary hearing had been scheduled for Monday. 

Jacobs was charged in January with seven criminal sexual conduct charges in three cases in Ontonagon County and one count of criminal sexual conduct in Dickinson County, all stemming from alleged incidents between 1981 and 1984. 

After his initial charges, two more alleged victims came forward in Ontonagon County. 

The Ontonagon County charges include eight counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor between 13 and 15, and two second-degree counts with a minor between 13 and 15. The Dickinson County charge is one count of second-degree CSC with a child under 13. 

The first-degree counts carry a maximum sentence of up to life in prison. The second-degree charge carries a penalty of up to 15 years in prison. 

The charges came about after investigations by the Attorney General’s Clergy Abuse Investigation Team. Jacobs was arrested in New Mexico in January. He voluntarily returned to Michigan after the second set of charges.

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