Arctic priest faces new sex charges in Nunavut
Catholic priest Eric Dejaeger is escorted by police outside an Iqaluit, Nunavut courtroom Jan. 20, 2011 after his first appearance for six child sexual abuse charges in Igloolik dating back to the 1970s. (Chris Windeyer / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
IQALUIT, Nunavut - A Canadian priest who fled Canada more than 15 years ago after being accused of sex crimes against Inuit children now faces a new set of charges.
Father Eric Dejaeger (duh-Yag-er), who was sent back last week from Belgium over immigration violations, is now facing three fresh charges in connection with his time in Igloolik, Nunavut, from 1978 to 1982.
Two of the charges are for indecent assault. The third is for not appearing in court June 13, 1995, to face the previous six counts.
Dejaeger came to Canada from Belgium in 1973. He was ordained as a Roman Catholic priest of the Oblate order after studying in Edmonton and eventually began work as a missionary in the Arctic, where he served in several communities.
According to court documents, Dejaeger pleaded guilty in 1990 to nine counts of sex crimes against boys and girls in Baker Lake, a small Inuit community in the central barrens of what is now Nunavut.
The crimes, committed between 1982 and 1989, ran from inappropriate touching to the rape of two boys who occasionally slept overnight at the mission residence. One boy was Dejaeger's victim from the ages of 10 to 17.
Dejaeger was sentenced to five years in prison for those offences.
But in June 1995, Dejaeger was charged again with more crimes against children alleged to have occurred between 1978 and 1982 in Igloolik on the northwest tip of Hudson Bay. Those charges were six counts of indecent assault and buggery involving four different individuals.
He didn't show up for his court date.
According to Belgian media, Dejaeger was living in an Oblate monastery and has worked in the Catholic pilgrimage site of Lourdes, France, where he received Flemish pilgrims.
The new charges were detailed in a court appearance earlier this week.
Dejaeger is back in court in Iqualuit on Thursday.