Well, all I can say is good on the Toronto Star and good on Mary Ormsby. A good article in today’s Star:
03 September 2010: Fifteen-year search for pedophile priest ends – with him going free
As unbelievable as it may seem, the mayor of Igloolik, Lucassie Ivalu, didn’t know that Oblate priest Father Eric Dejaeger did not stand trial on charges related to allegations of sexual abuse of young boys of Igloolik. Apparently others in Igloolik have also been in the dark. They did not know that Dejaeger had eluded justice. Nor did they know that he was a fugitive who had high-tailed it off to Belgium rather than show up in a Nunavut court to face his accusers. I gather that they knew nothing until this whole sorry mess spilled into the news in the past few weeks.
How can this be possible?
I wish I knew.
Is it in part because those who alleged abuse by Dejaeger had perhaps moved on from the small community? Or, perhaps, as is so often the case, is it that those whose allegations led to charges didn’t understand what was happening when Dejaeger failed to appear in Iqualit, the capital of Nunavut which is not, but the way, easily accessible from the remote northern community of Igloolik. In truth, there’s a good chance they probably weren’t even in court the day Dejaeger failed to show.
But, what were they told? What explanation were they given when it was discovered that Dejaeger was a no-show? For that matter, what explanation were they given when officials discovered that Dejaeger had fled the country?
Were the complainants, for that matter, given ANY explanation? Did anyone at all keep the Igloolik complainants in the loop? If not, why not?
This opens up another whole can of worms…
I am floored that people of Igloolik have been in the dark.
The chief prosecutor in Nunavut says the case is “incredibly complicated.” True enough. It seems it has indeed become incredibly complicated. But, it wasn’t too complicated when Dejaeger fled the country in 1995, was it?
Why, for example, did it take six full years to have Dejaeger on the Interpol “wanted” list?
I blogged ever so superficially on my troubles trying to get information from Interpol back in May of this year. I felt like I was banging my head against a brick wall. It was frustrating. People in Belgium have known where Dejaeger was living, but it was like pulling teeth to find out if Dejaeger was still on the Interpol list, and equally problematic trying to find out who to report to with information that Dejaeger’s whereabouts in Belgium were known.
Anyway, here we are. What a royal mess. And still we are presumably awaiting an extradition order from Canada.
And yes, how DID Dejaeger manage to get out of Canada? Did not a soul think to take his passport? That aside, how may lies and how much deception were entailed in getting a convicted clerical molester fleeing further sex abuse charges out of the country and into Belgium? Dejaeger must have had a helping hand or two? Will anyone be looking into that? If accomplices are unearthed, will there be charges laid?
What about the 05 July 1995 Letter to Father Erik Dejaeger in Belgium from “J.P.” in St. Boniface, Manitoba ? The RCMP knew, at the least, that Dejaeger had high-tailed off to Belgium? Did they follow through on that lead?
And what of “J.P.”? He received a letter from Dejaeger. He wrote a letter to Dejaeger – a heads up that Dejaeger would be arrested if he returned to Canada. And he couldn’t give the RCMP Dejaeger’s address?
Note too that Rheal Teffaine, the lawyer for the Diocese of Churchill-Hudson Bay says the diocese did not realize the extent of Dejaeger’s abuses and that: “We didn’t know this guy was a bloody monster.’’ And, note too that he says ‘they’ somehow “lost track” of Dejaeger in 1995.
And, oh yes, there was a “healing fund.” Every civil suit was settled without making victims go to court. Were there any settlements related to Dejaeger? If yes, how many? And, if yes, surely there must have been some sense then and there that, as Teffaine says, Dejaeger was “a bloody monster”? And, further to that, if there were victims of Dejaeger who benefited from the “healing fund” surely there was information available to the diocese that Dejaeger was a fugitive from justice?
I’d say this whole thing smells to high Heaven: from the judge’s conclusion that Dejaeger is not a paedophile, to Deajeger’s ability to flee the country as a convicted criminal and defendant in further criminal action, to the failure of the Oblates in both Belgium and Canada to turn in a convicted clerical molester running from the law, to the six-year-delay in getting Dejaeger’s name and picture on Interpol, to Dejaeger’s ability to function as a priest in Belgium, to the mayor of Igloolik and other Igloolik residents’ total lack of knowledge of what has been going on.
I am now beginning to think that there is need of an investigation to determine who – if anyone – overtly or covertly aided and abetted Father Eric Dejaeger him from the moment he decided to flee Canada and become a fugitive from justice.
Meanwhile we await news that an extradition has been both issued in Canada and actued upon in Belgian.
There is talk that Archbishop Martin Currie (Archdiocese of St. John’s and Diocese of Grand Falls Newfoundland) may be heading to St. Brendan’s to listen to the concerns of the those poor souls regarding convicted child molester Father Michael Walsh.
Does anyone know any of Father Walsh’s victims? If yes, could you please send me an email at email@example.com?
I missed “Betrayal” on the Fifth Estate 01 October 2010. Fortunately the entire show is available for for viewing online: http://www.cbc.ca/fifth/2010-2011/betrayal/
It’s worth watching – Linden MacIntyre has done an excellent job of conveying the pain of victims of clerical sexual abuse as well as the anger of Catholics in the Diocese of Antigonish Nova Scotia who are left footing the bill for the ‘deal’ hammered out by our disgraced Bishop Raymond Lahey. Lahey, facing charges of possession and importing child pornography, is also defending himself against a sex abuse lawsuit .
Lahey was recently spotted strolling the streets of Ottawa toting a backpack – footloose and fancy free.
What a dirty rotten mess!
Enough for now,