Eric Dejaeger sentencing: ‘I promise not to re-offend’

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4-day sentencing hearing wraps up for priest who abused Inuit children 3 decades ago

CBC News Posted: Jan 22, 2015 5:44 AM CT   Last Updated: Jan 22, 2015 9:41 AM CT

Eric Dejaeger steps out of an RCMP truck in front of the Nunavut Court of Justice in Iqaluit on Jan. 21.

Eric Dejaeger steps out of an RCMP truck in front of the Nunavut Court of Justice in Iqaluit on Jan. 21. (Vincent Robinet/CBC)

Eric Dejaeger addressed the court today as his four-day sentencing hearing wrapped up in Iqaluit

“I am really sorry for what I have done,” the 67-year-old former priest told the judge as victims in the court’s gallery cried. “I am sorry to the families and to my own family,”

Dejaeger says he he has done extensive counselling and said, “I promise not to re-offend again.”

Dejaeger was convicted last year on 32 counts of child sexual abuse dating back to his time as a priest in Igloolik, Nunavut, between 1978 and 1982.

Justice Robert Kilpatrick has reserved his final decision, telling the court he would not “rush to judgment,” but saying he did expect a short turnaround and hopes to issue a decision within two weeks.

Dejaeger will not be back in court when the judge reveals his decision.

On Wednesday, the Crown asked for a sentence of 25 years in prison, while the defence suggested 12 years. Both lawyers suggested Dejaeger be credited two days for every day spent in pre-trial custody as is the custom in the Canadian judicial system. Dejaeger has been in custody since January 2011, when he returned to Canada from Belgium to face charges that were laid in 1995.

On Monday and Tuesday, the court heard victim impact statements. Eighteen victims described to the court how those events affected them physically, emotionally and spiritually.

The CBC’s Peter Worden was reporting live from the courtroom via Twitter.

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