Sunday, September 09, 2012

Sunday's paper: William Jacobs - the Minneapolis pedophile no one stopped.

Sick and creepy.

The guy's photos at various ages and stages in his career head the front page article.  He's called a pedophile, but his victims were boys - mostly teenage boys.  I see that behavior as a homoerotic variant referred to as ephebophilia, yet legal and psychological experts use the term pedophilia, and that is the term homosexuals prefer as well, lest gay culture be tainted by its former association with NAMBLA.  Whatever terminology one chooses, it is sexual abuse of minors.  In mid-20th century parlance, Mr. Jacobs is a chicken queen.

No paper trail - don't ask - don't tell.

Before posting anything from the original article, I just want to point out a few things.  Jacobs moved from job to job - all the jobs and volunteer work provided him access to kids.  When caught or found out over the years, he was rarely fired, but trusted to refrain from acting out in the future.  He mostly changed jobs on his own volition.  None of his superiors reported the abuse to police.  In several situations, there were no records kept, or documentation left in his file.  As I've noted before, even if there had been, such information can not be divulged to potential employers.  Whenever I've tried to check employment records on future employees, I was only permitted to verify employment dates, and that was about it - legally, they could not even tell me if they would rehire the individual.

"I did everything in good faith. It was just a time before we really woke up to what could be happening."

At any rate, the story demonstrates how easily these things were swept under the rug, to avoid personal/corporate embarrassment and scandal.  It also helps us understand how psychologists and therapists could have believed a person would never offend again - and approve him to move on to another job.  What is perhaps more frightening is that Jacobs probably did not think anything was wrong with what he was doing - somehow he was able to justify his behavior.  Perhaps he didn't even know it was anything more than a cultural-societal taboo, or a sin against chastity?  Considering how one of his superiors acknowledged: 
Robert Telleen, (the director of YMCA's Camp Warren in Eveleth, MN, where Jacobs had worked as a camp counselor for 10 years), couldn't say whether he would have done anything different, such as go to the police.

"I don't know why I would have. Look, the times then were extremely different from now. At 31 years of age I'm not sure I'd even heard the term 'pedophile,'" he said. "I did everything in good faith. It was just a time before we really woke up to what could be happening." - Strib
"Bill claimed to have received a clear report from his own psychiatrist and social work(er)..."

Thus, for the person who became upset with me for saying parents are nuts if they let their kid do a sleep-over alone with a priest - or, as in this case, a teacher/camp counselor - or for that matter, anyone else... even uncle Bob; today's story is another reason I offer such warnings.*  And parents, just be mindful of the risks you take when you let your kids do such things.  Why do I say it over and over?  Because a neighbor used to take my brother hunting - just the two of them...  A friend I knew from school used to have sleep-overs with his teenage nephew - his nephew slept in his uncle's bed with him...  My parent's best friend had to use the bathroom, with me in it, while I was in the tub...  I've known a lot of perverts in my life - sad to say.

Uncle Bill...
In probing what would become one of the most disturbing cases of serial child molestation in Minnesota, the detectives also uncovered a history of missed opportunities and reluctance to expose a potential scandal. According to the investigative file, obtained by the Star Tribune under the Minnesota Data Practices Act, the detectives learned that in the early 1970s, Jacobs had lost as many as three teaching jobs because he fondled children, yet in each case, his supervisors kept the situations quiet.

They learned that in 1993, after Jacobs rose quickly in his new career as a police officer, a top state law enforcement official heard from someone who was molested years earlier by Jacobs but settled the issue with a private meeting. Jacobs' employer, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, was never told.

Not until a 15-year-old boy came forward to say the man he knew as "Uncle Bill" had been touching him for years did Jacobs finally face the consequences for his crimes.
In his first career as a teacher at prestigious prep schools, Jacobs' taste for boys kept getting him in trouble. Jacobs' first job after graduating from Northfield's Carleton College in 1965 was at the Taft School, a Connecticut boarding school, then all-male.

In a deposition he gave last May in exchange for being dropped from a victim's lawsuit, Jacobs said he was confronted by the headmaster for inappropriately "approaching" at least one student. Jacobs quietly left the school in 1971. Taft spokeswoman Julie Rieff said the school "has no knowledge of any improper conduct by Mr. Jacobs while at Taft."

He took his next job at the Blake School in Minneapolis. Around 1971, at least two students told their parents they were sexually abused by Jacobs. In his deposition, Jacobs said he was confronted by then-headmaster Jack Edie, who told him to finish the school year from home completing lesson plans.

Blake School spokeswoman Cathy McLane said officials cooperated with investigators and could find no documentation to determine whether Edie, who has since died, notified police of the allegations. - Finish reading.

Go to the Strib site to read the entire article - educate yourself.  Oh.  If a bill to lower the age of consent ever comes on the ballot in your state or country, just Vote No.

*Note:  Perpetrators are usually someone you know and trust.  Could be Uncle Buck, mom's boyfriend, a step dad, a dad, an older brother.  Friend of the family, a neighbor.  A teacher, a coach, a religious man, priest, minister... the tailor.  Seriously - remember Joey on "Friends"?  His tailor enjoyed taking accurate pant length measurements.  I mention it because when I was in high school, a guy at one of the stores downtown always took pant length measurements for the boys - and sometimes he serviced them further...


  1. One of the older priests of my acquaintance told a story recently about an assignment he had thirty years ago, as one of the chaplains at a summer camp. He was in charge of a group of 8 and 9-year-olds, and, like all the chaplains and camp counselors there, slept in the cabin with the kids. I can only imagine how easily someone with malicious intentions could take advantage of a situation like that.

    On the other hand, some parents don't seem to understand or care about these things. I know a family whose children ride their bicycles and walk and take the bus by themselves to go to church functions on weekdays. Just last week, the 16-year-old and 14-year-old brothers rode their bikes to movie night at the church (in 60 MPH winds, no less). Although the priest appreciates that the boys are very devout, he is obviously uncomfortable having them hanging around the church without their parents. In these days, where the pendulum has swung to the opposite extreme of mistrust of priests, just the fact of the boys being around so much is a potential source of scandal, even if it's totally innocent.

  2. "Perpetrators are usually someone you know and trust."

    You know who they usually aren't? Out, self-realized, adjusted gay men.

    I'm sure that's just a coincidence, though. :)

    1. Thanks for that information Thom.

      I'm sorry - I should have put in the usual disclaimers:

      Not all people who were abused end up being abusers.

      Not all men who have been abused end up gay.

      Not all gay men were abused.

      Not all gay men are interested in boys or young men.

      Not all gay men are promiscuous.

      And so on.

    2. I also should have noted that my purpose in publishing about this case is to show how abuse has been handled by superiors and employers, therapists and psychologists over the years. It was covered up - perpetrators went from job to job - this happened in secular circumstances as well as in the Church.

      I keep thinking how Fr. Benedict Groeschel is being demonized these days, by those who should know better.

    3. My intention wasn't to elicit disclaimers and whatnot. But I do think it's important to point out that these abuser types are almost never integrated gay people: they are people who hide and struggle in secrecy. I think that's an incredibly important distinction to make. Sorry if I came across otherwise.

    4. No problem - I'm glad you brought it up.

      In the early 1970's I worked with guys who had this proclivity - I may have mentioned it before. It wasn't a secret, and three of them were executives in the company I worked for - one was married.

      The scandals reveal how pervasive sexual abuse of children is. It seems to me, its existence was simply denied and considered an abberation.


Please comment with charity and avoid ad hominem attacks. I exercise the right to delete comments I find inappropriate. If you use your real name there is a better chance your comment will stay put.