30 August 1989
LAURIE SARKADI Journal Northern Bureau
YELLOWKNIFE — After spending one week in prison, a Roman Catholic priest facing seven counts of sexual assault was granted freedom from custody Tuesday in territorial court.
His eyes swollen and his face sallow, Father Eric Dejaeger of Baker Lake, N.W.T., stared blankly during his bail hearing as the Crown prosecutor outlined nine conditions for his release.
The bearded, 42-year-old Arctic priest is to appear Nov. 15 in Baker Lake, 600 km northeast of Yellowknife, for a preliminary hearing. He has elected trial by judge and jury.
The defence and Crown counsels mutually agreed under the terms of his release that the Belgian-born priest not be allowed to associate in private with children under age 18 unless accompanied by an adult.
He is also required to deposit his Canadian and Belgian passports with the Yellowknife RCMP and must remain at the House of Growth Roman Catholic retreat in Milner Ridge, Man., until his next court appearance.
On top of Dejaeger personally posting a $10,000 cash deposit, the Order of the Oblates Marie Immaculate, known largely as a missionary congregation, in St. Boniface, Man., must provide a $75,000 cash bond.
Once in Manitoba, Dejaeger is to report weekly to the RCMP and comply with the directions of his church superior.
Other terms include keeping the peace and being of good behavior, with an assurance he will return to court as directed.
Territorial court Judge Michel Bourassa ordered a ban on publication of evidence and publication of statements from both counsels at the request of defence lawyer Alan Regel.
An earlier publication ban restricted the media from reporting any evidence which may reveal identities of the alleged victims.
Following a lengthy investigation by Yellowknife RCMP, Dejaeger was arrested Aug. 21 in Langley, B.C., where he was studying linguistics.
His charges stem from incidents alleged to have happened during the past decade in the closeknit, predominantly Inuit community of Baker Lake.
Dejaeger’s lawyers had earlier requested the priest be allowed a psychiatric evaluation before any further court proceedings.