Nunavut ex-priest Dejaeger says he’s sorry for sex crimes against Inuit children

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Judge will likely issue written sentence decision before March at the latest

Nunatsiaq Online

22 January 2015  10:52 am

JIM BELL

Eric Dejaeger enters the Iqaluit court house for a court appearance about a year ago, in January 2014. (FILE PHOTO)
Eric Dejaeger enters the Iqaluit court house for a court appearance about a year ago, in January 2014. (FILE PHOTO)

(Updated, 12:50 p.m., Jan. 22)

As some of his sexual abuse victims wept and howled in the courtroom gallery, 67-year-old Eric Dejaeger, convicted child molester and former Roman Catholic priest, rose Jan. 22 at the end of his sentencing hearing in Iqaluit to apologize and plead for forgiveness.

“I ask forgiveness. I promise not to re-offend again,” Dejaeger said.

Dejaeger stands convicted on 32 counts, most of them sex crimes committed against Inuit children in Igloolik between 1976 and 1982.

He trembled a little and leaned forward to make his statement, placing his hands on the defence table to prop himself up.

Dejaeger looked directly at Justice Robert Kilpatrick and did not turn his head to look at the more than two dozen victims sitting in court behind him.

“I followed extensive counseling for sex offender and I will not re-offend,” Dejaeger said.

Crown prosecutor Doug Curliss has asked Kilpatrick to impose a 25-year jail sentence, minus about eight years to account for the four years of hard time Dejaeger has spent in custody, on a two for one basis.

Defence lawyer Malcolm Kempt, who argues the Crown’s proposed sentence is crushing and heavy-handed, has asked for a global sentence of 12 years, minus time served.

Kilpatrick said he hopes to issue a sentence decision in about two weeks, but said it might take longer.

“I do not wish to rush to judgment,” Kilpatrick said.

He said he will not read an oral judgment in court, but will issue a written judgment electronically, with copies to be distributed in Igloolik.

However, he set a date of March 3 at 9:30 p.m. for Dejaeger to return to court. It’s likely Kilpatrick’s judgement will have been issued by that time.

While considering that decision, Kilpatrick will look at a mountain of evidence given during Dejaeger’s lengthy trial and many pieces of case law submitted by lawyers.

Kilpatrick also heard many poignant victim impact statements that Dejaeger’s Igloolik victims gave the court between between Jan. 19 and Jan. 21

That included a statement from an Igloolik woman who, quoting St. Paul’s first epistle to the Thessalonians, said Dejaeger will face the vengeance of God in the afterlife.

Other victims said Dejaeger’s abuse permanently deformed their lives, citing lifelong substance abuse and emotional dysfunctions.

“My heart is forever broken and it cannot be put back together,” one woman said.

Following a trial that ran intermittently from Nov. 18, 2013 until May 28, 2014, Kilpatrick convicted Dejaeger on 24 counts in a judgment released this past September.

They included many counts of indecent assault on boys and girls, four counts of buggery, one count of bestiality with a dog, one count of forcible confinement, and one count of sexual assault.

The ex-priest — at the start of the trial — entered guilty pleas to eight other counts.

Dejaeger also faces two sex charges — one count of gross indecency and one count of indecent assault — related to time he spent in Edmonton attending Newman Theological College, before he was ordained as an Oblate priest, between 1975 and 1978.

He is to appear in court in Edmonton later this month on those charges.

In 1990, Justice Ted Richard of the Northwest Territories Supreme Court gave Dejaeger a five-year prison sentence.

That was for nine sex crimes that Dejaeger committed against children in Baker Lake in the late 1980s, after he had moved to Baker Lake from Igloolik.

The first Igloolik charges surfaced in February 1995, when an RCMP corporal stationed there laid six counts against Dejaeger.

But the Flanders-born Dejaeger fled Canada for Belgium, where performed tasks for the Oblate order over the next 15 years.

After Belgian journalists exposed him in 2010, with the help of campaigner Lieve Halsberghe, the Belgian government discovered Dejaeger was not a Belgian citizen and had lived illegally there for years.

That triggered his expulsion from Belgium in January of 2011 — and the start of an investigation that led to nearly 80 sex charges against him.

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(20) Comments:

#1. Posted by Ron Ralph on January 22, 2015Yes he’s sorry because he got caught….Why did he flee from Nunavut?

There is a special place in Hell for people like him…

Ron.

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#2. Posted by Lieve Halsberghe on January 22, 2015If he was really sorry, he would not have fled Canada, indeed.
He was sorry in 1990 for the crimes he committed in Baker Lake. But not sorry enough to tell the police about what he did in Igloolik and Edmonton, etc.
If he was really sorry, he would have taken a plane back to Canada to face justice, long before he was forced on a plane by Belgian police.
If he was really sorry he would not have pleaded not guilty for all the violent crimes he committed on defenceless children. Not admitting the truth in public is just another sign of immense cruelty towards the victims and their families. The Oblates of Mary Immaculate, who pay for his lawyer and this defence, are equally responsible for this cruelty.

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#3. Posted by Arlene Hache on January 22, 2015A sign Dejaeger should get life in prison. A “cured” pedophile should say, “I know I will rape children any chance I get so I consent to being locked up permanently in a monastery.”

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#4. Posted by Iqalummiut on January 22, 2015Catholic Church will have to pay like the schools paid for Ed Horne’s molestation/ abuse.
What’s with the Catholic religion????!!!!!
Why can’t the “Fathers” have partners???!!!

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#5. Posted by inuk on January 22, 2015How do these pedophiles go on to think they will never get caught? Imagine how many of his victims probably committed suicide because of his actions.

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#6. Posted by Hunter on January 22, 2015He is only sorry they will be sending him to a prison where they eat guys like that up. He will probably be in 23 hour a day lock up to protect him from other inmates who would dismantle him.

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#7. Posted by Lou on January 22, 2015
Well we know that’s a promise he’ll keep because he won’t be around children but in a prison….

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#8. Posted by Nunavutmiut on January 22, 2015
he should get life in prison! He has so many vitims! how many of his victims has broken home, drug and alcohol addictions and HOW MANY HAS COMMITTED SUICIDE???

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#9. Posted by YAK ATTACK on January 22, 2015
He’s only sorry he was caught, who know’s? maybe he will get a nice big welcome when he enters Prison, I bet there are many victims of Child abuse locked up behind bars because of the screwed up childhood they were given and probably can’t wait to meet this molester.

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#10. Posted by dejaeger hunter on January 22, 2015
MALCOLM KEMPT is just as guilty for the same offences, when he says ” the proposed sentence by the crown is crushing and heavy handed. enjoy your pay.

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#11. Posted by Angry young man. on January 22, 2015
He deserves to be in jail for the rest of his life!! What he did to those children are now scarred for life. Some may have got through life, they didn’t let this messed up guy run there life (I’m proud of those who didn’t let this guy run your life). But other victims may have became drug addicts or alcoholics (please don’t let this sick man run your life, you can do so much in your life)

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#12. Posted by northguy on January 22, 2015
Why is our so beloved church protecting this piece of trash?

He should be allowed to walk the streets…..just one more time…..

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#13. Posted by DEATH PENALTY on January 22, 2015
Does Nunavut have the death penalty?

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#14. Posted by uvanga on January 23, 2015
Canada does not have the death penality.
The best punishment for this peice of trash would be to spend the rest of his days in general population with the inmates.

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#15. Posted by Inuk from the North on January 23, 2015
He is sorry because he caused so much pain; BULL, i sorry for himself that he got caught and finally getting sentencing.

Justice should be served for this piece of crap and let him feel the pain that he let the children felt. Justice should not feel sorry for his sorrow for thos who got hurt.

Double life in prison. Sorry does not cut it.

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#16. Posted by look forward to it, Mr on January 23, 2015
His punishment will be to burn in hell like the story in ‘hell is for real’

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#17. Posted by JB on January 23, 2015
He says he is sorry! He saying he is sorry because he got caught…. no other reason.

A sociopath does not have a conscious. Keep him locked up forever.
1. so•ci•o•path/ˈsōsēōˌpaTH/
noun
1. a person with a personality disorder manifesting itself in extreme antisocial attitudes and behavior and a lack of conscience.

The victims are all in my prayers.

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#18. Posted by Insight on January 23, 2015
For all those who like to judge Inuit here is one of the many historical lessons you need to know – maybe if all this happened to you, you would act the same.
Their honesty at not only what happened to them, their falling into alcohol and drugs admissions but also their acute pain, shame and suffering as individuals and as a group should educate many Canadians about what aboriginal people have often endured.
If we just sit and judge them now, we are shallow people, showcasing our own ignorance.
We need to learn so much more about what happened to indigenous people, at the hands of others.

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#19. Posted by Nunavutmiut on January 23, 2015
how do they say it? what goes around, comes around or what he had done to people will be done to him!!!

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#20. Posted by Arlene Hache on January 23, 2015
Good point Insight. Not just at the hands of others, but supported by both Liberal and Conservative governments over the decades.

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