Northern News Services
Published Monday, April 4, 2011
IGLULIK – Iglulik’s Catholic priest recently left the community after allegedly receiving threats, according to the RCMP.
“There was some allegation of threats made, yes,” said RCMP spokesperson Sgt. Jimmy Akavak. “Within the church itself, they decided to ship Father Tony Krotki. No charge has been laid. There is a file on it. It’s under investigation.”
One of the community’s former priests, Eric Dejaeger, now 63, returned to Nunavut from Belgium this past January to face several sex-related charges for incidents alleged to have occurred between 1978 and 1982 in Iglulik. More charges were laid against Dejaeger after his return. Krotki was the priest at St. Stephen Roman Catholic Church for the last 12 years. Acting mayor Paul Quassa said Krotki quietly left about a month ago.
“Nobody knew that he had left the community. That’s how quiet it was,” said Quassa. “It’s very unfortunate this incident had to take place.”
In regards to the alleged threats made against the priest, Quassa said, “If that was the case, then I don’t blame him for getting out of the community. We should not tolerate any type of abuse, whether it’s verbal or physical. This is something we should not tolerate in any of our communities, whoever it may be.”
This is not the first time the community has been without a priest, said Quassa, but that doesn’t stop the faithful from attending church.
“It was the priest’s prerogative to decide what the best action was for him,” he said. “We regret the leaving of the priest but any person in that level is always welcomed in our community and still is.”
Father Quang Van in Hall Beach said he filled in for Krotki in Iglulik last week.
“I just know he left Iglulik and nobody is over there. I don’t know much about that so I don’t want to say anything,” he said.