Man seen near daycare acquitted of defying orders to stay away from children

Rosie
Rosie Gillingham
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A convicted sex offender may have been watching children near a daycare, but he wasn’t close enough to have broken the law.
That was the decision made at St. John’s provincial judge Friday in the case of John Ernest Jacobs.

John Ernest Jacobs speaks with his lawyer Tammy Drover before the verdict in his case was delivered Thursday at provincial court in St. John’s.
— Photo by Rosie Gillingham/The Telegram

Judge Jim Walsh found Jacobs not guilty of loitering around the daycare and breaching court orders to stay away from areas where children younger than 14 may frequent. A charge of vagrancy was withdrawn by the Crown.

The 44-year-old had been on strict court orders after he was convicted and sentenced to six months in jail last year for breaching those same orders in December 2012. At the time, he was seen several times peering into the windows of a house where a five-year-old girl lived. He was also seen watching children toboggan at a hill on Empire Avenue in St. John’s, near the Elks Club.

When Jacobs was released from jail after serving his term on those charges, police had surveillance on him.

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In June last year, officers saw him walking back and forth in front of a daycare and school in Torbay. Officers had testified in Jacobs’ trial last month that Jacobs’ eyes were focused on the children in the playground and he was seen rubbing his genital area a few times as he watched them.

Walsh said while Jacobs’ actions were disturbing, because Jacobs was across the street and not on the daycare or school property, it doesn’t constitute the charge of “attending at” a daycare or playground.

“You were 50 feet from being found guilty,” Walsh said to Jacobs.

The judge also pointed out that there had been no complaints from anyone at the daycare and that no one had reported seeing him except officers.

However, Jacobs was convicted of making harassing phone calls.

In April last year, he randomly called a number from the phone book and reached a residence in Conception Bay South. A young boy answered and Jacobs asked to speak with his five-year-old sister. Jacobs had heard a male voice calling the girl’s name in the background and then asked the boy who she was.

Walsh sentenced Jacobs to six months in jail. But it’s considered time served, since Jacobs has been in jail for almost seven months.

He will now serve two years’ probation, with conditions that he have no contact with the family he called.

Jacobs has an extensive criminal record. It includes a conviction for invitation to sexual touching involving a child in March 2009. He was sentenced to 18 months in jail for that offence, along with breaching court orders.

His record also includes convictions for such crimes as assault, performing indecent acts, 15 counts of making harassing phone calls and 21 convictions for breaching court orders.

He had just been released from Dorchester Penitentiary in New Brunswick in March 2011.

Police said that when Jacobs was arrested and moved back to this province, officers notified daycare administrators, who issued letters to parents.

Police said it caused concern among parents of children in the community.

Walsh told Jacobs that even though he acquitted him of the first charge, “you clearly have issues that need to be addressed.”

Jacobs agreed to seek treatment and to work with his probation officer to participate in counselling programs.

telegram@thetelegram.com

Geographic location: Torbay, Conception Bay South, New Brunswick

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Comments

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Recent comments

  • angry parent
    February 07, 2014 - 10:19

    i better not see em around my kids day care..

  • ChrissySnow
    February 06, 2014 - 21:30

    "21 convictions for breaching court orders"...I guess that's his limit and there won't be a 22nd time so all your children are safe as long as he stays across the street. Sickening.

  • Jeff
    February 06, 2014 - 18:49

    I feel for the judge as he is bound to the letter of the law. It is not the judges fault this POS was found not guilty. However, thank you to The Telegram for at least covering this story and giving his name and photo. I hope to never see him (but kinda do at the same time if you know what I mean). The public should know this guys picture.

  • Elaine
    February 06, 2014 - 16:24

    I bet it would of been a different decision if that judge had a child or grandchild at that daycare or school, we have a poor pathetic excuse of a justice system

  • Elaine
    February 06, 2014 - 16:22

    I bet it would of been a different decision if that judge had a child or grandchild at that daycare or school, we have a poor pathetic excuse of a justice system

  • Daniel Through
    February 06, 2014 - 16:11

    This guy was looking for his next victim. Keep a close eye on him and parents don't let your children be alone anywhere near him. He is a predator

  • RUTH SNOW
    February 06, 2014 - 15:48

    THIS ARTICLE IS ABSOLUTELY DISGUSTING. WHEN IS ENOUGH ,ENOUGH. IF THIS MAN CONTINUES TO DO WHAT HE IS DOING, OUR INNOCENT DARLING CHILDREN WILL BECOME PRISONERS IN THEIR OWN HOMES. WHAT PARENT WILL LET THERE CHILDREN GO OUT TO PLAY,KNOWING THAT THERE IS SUCH A PREDATOR OUT THERE ON THE LOOSE.AND OUR JUDICIAL SYSTEM IS WAY TO LEAN ON DEALING WITH THESE ISSUES. THANK YOU

  • RUTH SNOW
    February 06, 2014 - 15:46

    THIS ARTICLE IS ABSOLUTELY DISGUSTING. WHEN IS ENOUGH ,ENOUGH. IF THIS MAN CONTINUES TO DO WHAT HE IS DOING, OUR INNOCENT DARLING CHILDREN WILL BECOME PRISONERS IN THEIR OWN HOMES. WHAT PARENT WILL LET THERE CHILDREN GO OUT TO PLAY,KNOWING THAT THERE IS SUCH A PREDATOR OUT THERE ON THE LOOSE.AND OUR JUDICIAL SYSTEM IS WAY TO LEAN ON DEALING WITH THESE ISSUES. THANK YOU

  • Julia
    February 06, 2014 - 14:48

    I don't know where to begin with my disgust with this article and judge. the daycare probably didn't make a complaint because they were not aware he was a sex offender... the word of the POLICE OFFICERS SHOULD HOLD SOME CREDIT here!! He was being watched and STILL chose to walk on the edge of the law. I am sorry, but only a few short weeks ago, Kenny Green was remanded in to custody for having supper at a FAMILY RESTAURANT as his conditions were to stay away from alcohol and a judge felt he was taunting the law by going to Jungle Jims. How is this man not taunting the law now??? And we are talking about INNOCENT children here. There have also been many reports in the past week of a man matching his description frequenting children's hang outs and homes.. I encourage everyone who encounters this man to make a report to the RNC. Eventually, he HAS to be stopped before he takes another child's innocence. Disgusted in our legal system is an understatement!

  • J
    February 06, 2014 - 12:53

    Is this a JOKE??? Our justice system is freaking pathetic!!! No wonder stuff like this happens, because it's practically allowed here!!!! What a sad sad province we live in. I'm so ashamed!!! Let's hope the rest of the pedophiles in the world don't find out how slack we are, before they all move here to prey on our kids. Disgusting !!!!!

  • deChelca
    February 06, 2014 - 11:12

    Judge just gave him permission to hang about daycare centres and playgrounds. As long as he's 50 feet away. Idiot judges...

  • angela
    February 06, 2014 - 10:40

    As far as I'm concerned their isn't a long enough sentence for a sex offender they should be locked up for life and not get another. Chance to reoffen

  • Cynthia Piercey
    February 06, 2014 - 07:17

    As a parent of a 6yr old girl I'm down right disgusted with the fact that guy got off with it because if 50ft??? He obviously knows what he can and cannot do and it's only a matter if time b4 he ruins some young child's life. His history shows no remorse or want to change - and yet he's allowed to walk around society to randomly pick his next victim. I can't say here what I think should be done with this creep. I hope the police keep watch over this creep.

    • Stephanie
      February 06, 2014 - 10:20

      I completely agree with what Cynthia has said. Caught 50feet away rubbing his genitals obviously being sexually arroused watching small children playing and gets off with it because he wasn't on the property? I understand the judge has guidelines and laws he has to abide by but it's high time they be reviewed and changed! This is a man who is showing no remorse and no signs of wanting or trying to change himself for the better. This is down right disgusting and our justice system should allow to keep him locked up for life! I don't care how harsh that sounds! I understand this is a problem that he definitely needs professional help with - however - if he acts on this, a child's life is ruined FOR LIFE. The parents and child are left traumatized, no sense of security, violated and emotionally scarred FOR LIFE. Instead of ruining the lives of others, why not contain it now and cut it off at the source. Put him away and leave him where he belongs.