The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Testimony finishes in trial of former priest charged with sex abuse in Arctic

  • Print

IQALUIT, Nunavut - Witnesses have finished their testimony in the trial of a former priest accused of sex assaults against dozens of Inuit children in a remote Arctic community.

The case of Eric Dejaeger is to wrap up the week of March 17, when lawyers are to argue final legal motions and make closing statements.

Dejaeger, who is 66, pleaded guilty to eight counts at the beginning of his trial in November.

He denied the remaining 68 sex assault charges against him when he took the stand in his own defence this week in an Iqaluit, Nunavut courtroom.

Dejaeger, born in Belgium, was posted to the tiny hamlet of Igloolik as an Oblate missionary between 1978 and 1982.

The allegations range from fondling to the sodomy of a little girl duct-taped to the priest's bed.

Court heard Dejaeger used food to lure some of the hungry children, and threatened many with hellfire or separation from their parents if they spoke of the abuse.

Some sex acts allegedly took place in a tent in a hunting camp. But most are alleged to have happened in the church — in his bedroom and in a common room during religion classes. Some witnesses testified that they were assaulted during confessions.

Others testified that Dejaeger forced them to watch him sexually assault his dog.

Dejaeger, sporting a white beard half way down his chest, adamantly denied the allegations. He told court he only fondled boys who came to his bedroom when they weren't allowed.

He said he squeezed their genitals while ushering them out the door, but didn't enjoy it.

"It just happened," he told court.

Justice Robert Kilpatrick didn't say when he might deliver a verdict. He has more than 1,500 pages of transcript to review from the trial.

Dejaeger was previously convicted of sex offences stemming from his time in Baker Lake, another Inuit community. He was sentenced to five years.

He was supposed to stand trial on some of the Igloolik charges in 1995, but returned to Belgium. He fulfilled several functions for the Oblates there until he was returned to Canada in 2011 when it was discovered he no longer held Belgian citizenship.

(APTN)

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Jim Flaherty remembered at visitation as irreplaceable

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A red squirrel peaks out of the shade in a tree in East Fort Garry, Sunday, September 9, 2012. (TREVOR HAGAN/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • KEN GIGLIOTTI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS / Jan 10  2011 ‚Äì WEB STDUP ‚Äì Frosty morning at -15 degrees C , in pic frost covers the the Nellie McClung statue  on the MB Legislature grounds at 7am

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

What are you most looking forward to this Easter weekend?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google