Former priest facing new charges remanded into custody in Iqaluit

Former priest Eric Dejaeger, 76, leaves the Nunavut Court of Justice in Iqaluit on Thursday, June 8, after a brief court appearance. (David Gunn/CBC )

By Emma Tranter · CBC News

An ex-priest previously convicted of dozens of sexual abuse charges in Nunavut will wait in an Iqaluit jail for his next court date on new charges.

Eric Dejaeger, 76  was taken into custody on Thursday after a brief court appearance at the Nunavut Court of Justice.

In 2015, Dejaeger was convicted of 32 offences for sexual abusing people in Igloolik, many of them children. Later the same year, he was convicted of sexually abusing children in Alberta.

Dejaeger was arrested again on Wednesday in Kingston, Ont., and flown to Iqaluit after the Nunavut RCMP put out a Canada-wide warrant for his arrest.

He faces eight new counts of historical sexual assault stemming from investigations done between 2011 and 2015.

According to court documents, the alleged assaults occurred in Igloolik between 1978 and 1982.

Wearing a light grey, collared sweater with red and white trim, Dejaeger nodded as he listened to Justice of the Peace Mia Manocchio.

The former Oblate priest worked in Nunavut in the 1970s and 1980s. He was born in Belgium and became a Canadian citizen in 1977.

Dejaeger was scheduled for a bail hearing on Thursday, but reserved his right to bail until a later date so he and his lawyer could review disclosure.

In 2015, Dejaeger was sentenced to 19 years in prison for crimes he committed between 1978 and 1982. Because of the time he spent in custody before his trial, he had 11 years left to serve after he was convicted.

Dejaeger was released on parole in May last year to serve the rest of his sentence in the community.

Father Ken Thorson with the Oblates of Mary Immaculate told CBC by email the Oblates “condemn any acts of sexual abuse, including those that Eric Dejaeger is alleged to have committed.”

Dejaeger’s next court appearance is scheduled for June 27 in Iqaluit.

Related stories from around the North: 

Canada: Quebec Inuit org. calls lack of police, justice reform “ticking catastrophe in modern times”, Eye on the Arctic

Finland: Police response times up to an hour slower in Arctic Finland, Yle News

United States: Violence Against Women bill would expand power of up to 30 Alaska tribal courts, Alaska Public Media

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