A priest, pedophile, hidden by the Oblates for 16 years

News 26 March, 2018
  • Photo courtesy
    Father Eric Dejaeger returned to the country in 2011 and was sentenced to 19 years in prison for assaulting 22 children.

    Magalie Lapointe

    Monday, 26 march, 2018 01:00

    Monday, 26 march, 2018 01:00

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    A missionary is wanted by the police for sexual assault against inuit children has been hidden for 16 years in Belgium by the Oblates while a mandate to bring international weighed in against him.

    Oblate father Eric Dejaeger has been convicted in 2015 of assaulting 22 children aged 4 to 18 years between 1978 and 1982 while he was a missionary in Igloolik, Nunavut. He received a total sentence of 19 years for the penitentiary.

    But before that, he was a refugee among his fellow Oblates in Belgium to escape the prison. He has enjoyed a complete freedom for 16 years, despite an international arrest warrant which weighed against him.


    Dejaeger was finally obliged to return to Canada for immigration issues and not to a case of extradition.

    In January 2011, he returned to Canada after a belgian journalist was told that he had lost his citizenship belgian in 1977 by becoming Canadian. The man, who was living in Belgium without any visa since 1995, has been expelled by the authorities. He was then able to be judged.

    According to Paul Charest, retired professor-associate in the department of anthropology of Université Laval, who has studied the community, it happened that the father superior of the Oblates moves a priest in another mission when this one was sexual misconduct. The story of the father Dejaeger is an example.

    The priest Dejaeger had also been sentenced to five years in prison in the 1990s for sexually assaulting children 9 to 18 years.

    Aggressor, but always Oblate

    Even if a judge has acknowledged an Oblate of Mary Immaculate, guilty of having assaulted native women, his religious community has taken the time to honor his death.

    Hubert Patrick O’connor has worked in indigenous communities in the Yukon for 15 years and in British Columbia for 5 years. Then, in 1991, he handed in his resignation after he was accused of sexual assault.

    The victims, who had been raped in the 1960s, had to wait until 1996 before their tormentor is sentenced to two and a half years in prison.

    He was always oblate at his death in 2007.

    His funeral had been celebrated in Huntingdon, Montérégie.

    Stationed in France after sexual assault

    David Prince, Le Journal de Montréal

    The brother oblate Raynald Couture was stationed in France in the 1990’s when rumours of sexual assault came to the ears of the community.

    Mr smith was sentenced in 2004 to 15 months in prison for assaulting eight boys atikameks of Wemotaci, north of La Tuque.

    When he left this community in 1991, father Couture was brought to its knees at the exit of the church to ask for forgiveness to the community. All the faithful who wanted to forgive him had to ask him the hand on the head.

    However, very few have forgiven.

    Moreover, four of the boys abused by the priest from 1980 to 1987 have subsequently committed suicide.

    Shortly after leaving Wemotaci, father Couture was sent to France by the Oblates.

    Mr. Couture has the impression that his superiors have changed continent ” because there were rumours that the authorities were aware of the activities that he had had with the boys “, one can read in the judgment.

    When commenting on the sentence, the Oblates provide justice in canada affect

    Mr. Couture to one of their orchards, where he would remain a priest but would not be in a relationship with the population.

    Due to the high risk of recurrence, the judge instead sentenced to 15 months in prison.