Northern Michigan priest pleads guilty to more sexual abuse charges

FILE - Generic gavel on wodden table. 

A former Upper Peninsula priest who left Michigan years ago has pleaded guilty to a remaining sexual abuse case against him.

Gary Jacobs, 75, is accused of sexually abusing teenagers in the 1980s while serving as a priest under the Catholic Diocese of Marquette.

He pleaded guilty Friday to one count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct in Dickinson County, according to Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel. His sentencing will be July 2.

In April, he pleaded guilty to four other counts of criminal sexual conduct in Ontonagon County. His sentencing in that case will be May 25.

According to the plea deal, which covers both counties, Jacobs will serve between eight and 15 years on each of the five counts, which will run concurrently. Nessel's office calls it the "harshest prison sentence" handed down in its clergy abuse investigation which has resulted in other guilty pleas.

Jacobs must undergo sex offender counseling and be on lifetime electronic monitoring when released. His attorney has not returned a previous request for comment.

Diocese officials said Jacobs was removed from ministry in 1988 and left Michigan. He was living in New Mexico when he was charged in January 2020.

"I am proud of the work done by our clergy abuse team to reach this plea agreement," Nessel said in statement. "None of this would be possible without the courageous victims who have been willing to share their stories in order to achieve justice."