Former priest abused children – and a dog!

Former priest abused children – and a dog!

A defrocked Catholic priest was found guilty yesterday of raping dozens of children and a sled dog in the Canadian Arctic, where he worked as a missionary for decades.

Belgian-born Eric Dejaeger, 67, was convicted of 31 counts of sexual offences against children and one count of bestiality. At the start of the his trial last November in Iqaluit, the capital of Canada’s northernmost Nunavut territory, Dejaeger acknowledged and pleaded guilty to eight out of 80 original charges.

Justice Robert Kilpatrick ruled the evidence had been weakened by the passage of time, and whittled down the number in the indictment.
The defence and prosecution have 30 days to appeal the decision. Otherwise, Dejaeger is expected to be back in court in January for sentencing.

The Iqaluit court clerk told AFP that more than 20 victims from the Inuit hamlet of Igloolik, on the shores of the Northwest Passage, testified at the emotionally charged trial.

Harrowing accounts of Dejaeger’s abuse were detailed in coverage of the trial last year. During the course of the hearing the court heard how Dejaeger used his position as a missionary to lure and trap children them into sex, threatening them with hellfire and separation from their families if they exposed him.

From 1978 to 1982, Dejaeger worked alongside other local priests in Igloolik in what was then the Northwest Territories, and eventually took on Canadian citizenship.

In 1990, he was convicted and sentenced to five years in prison for sexually assaulting eight children in Baker Lake, Nunavut.

Following his release from prison and facing fresh allegations, he fled to his birth country of Belgium, where he was arrested in 2011 and subsequently returned to Canada.

He has been in custody ever since.

One witness, who was about eight years old in 1980 when  Dejaeger fed her, said he took her into his bedroom and told her to get undressed.

I was scared of him. He told me not to tell anybody and then he said he was going to do something to me.

Her made her fondle him, then raped her, she said.

The witness said she fled to her home as soon as she could and told her grandmother, a staunch church-goer.

She beat me up and told me I was lying.

Other testimony suggested Dejaeger’s assaults were an open secret, at least among the children.

One man told court that Dejaeger used to sit him on his lap, open his zipper and fondle the boy while other children in the room played and coloured Bible pictures.

Several children told their parents what was going on after Dejaeger forced them to watch him having sex with his dog, but no one believed them.

The Belgian Oblates, the Catholic missionary order that sent Dejaeger to several communities in what is now Nunavut, dismissed him from the priesthood in December 2011. But he remains a member of the congregation.

The number of counts against Dejaeger didn’t balloon until the late 1990s, when more alleged victims from Igloolik began coming forward. New charges were still being laid after his return to Canada.

15 responses to “Former priest abused children – and a dog!”

  1. Matt Westwood says:

    This is, as always, the really sick thing:

    “The witness said she fled to her home as soon as she could and told her grandmother, a staunch church-goer.

    She beat me up and told me I was lying.”


    “Several children told their parents what was going on after Dejaeger forced them to watch him having sex with his dog, but no one believed them.”

    The most important priority in the handling of these cases is that the children are at least listened to in the first place, and for it at least to be assumed, even for the sake of argument, that they are telling at least a partial truth.

    Pardon my irony born of white-hot fury.

    (How do you implement a “blockquote” on this forum?)

  2. Broga says:

    I’m so pleased the parents of my young grandchildren are both atheists. They are very unlikely to fall into the hands of priests. I just don’t know how any parent of young children can any longer feel that the kids are safe when they are anywhere near a priest.

    How many of these sexual predators have to be revealed before even religious parents get the message?

  3. Chad says:

    It is with regret, rather than surprise, that I read “in 1990, he was convicted and sentenced to five years in prison for sexually assaulting eight children” but it was only in 2011 that he was dismissed from the priesthood. Whilst forgiveness is laudable that’s just taking the piss.

  4. Paul Cook says:

    These far away out of the way places, with low populations, such as this place in Canada, and Newfoundland and Alaska most notably, have serious priest abusers in their midst. The percentage of abusing Rcc priests exceeds 15-20%! A staggering statistic.

    Ratzinazi & smily polish air miles papa, and all those other scum rcc hierarchy who ignored this problem, made no apologies, and who say (i) it’s a homosexual thing, (ii) it’s a US problem only, (iii) that the priests who abuse is less than 1%, etc etc are utterly contemptible. What they have been doing for centuries is hiding these people in their employ, so they abuse again and again and again. This is a prime example. Convicted for abusing children so what did his employers do? Let him near children again.

    They are absolute bastards – all of these people, they are the scum of the earth – deceitful, dishonest scum.

    [Apologies for the rant]

  5. barriejohn says:

    Here’s a euphemism that I’ve not come across before – “breathing lessons”:

    You’ve got to hand it to them!

  6. L.Long says:

    Here in the states there was similar problems with priests doing kids.
    The parents (dimwitted moroons) did not believe the kids.
    The priest was of gawd and could not be doing this devil stuff!!!
    Everyone comes down on the priests & people like this one, but the parents carry a huge blame as well. When I grew my parents always stressed do not trust strangers and never said except for priests or nuns. When I got into trouble with a nun my dad questioned me and then went to the nun and told her to piss off and fly straight to hell. Yes hystory shows you have to be careful with questioning kids, but to hit them for lying? When you do not know the whole story as of yet is just wrong.
    At least we can have a good feeling knowing that this awful person was not a true xtian… ;-}

  7. L.Long says:

    In the same line I tell my kids to not fear too much the ratty haired dirty biker dude, but be very afraid of the suit offering candy or the dude saying he is gawd’s servant.
    ALso the claim …. ‘ but it is only 1%’ ….
    To any dimwitted ahole saying such stupidity I offer the M&M challenge.
    In a large bowl of M&M only 1% are poison, eat any 10.
    So far no takers, so much for only 1% being safe.

  8. Rob Andrews says:

    This happens in any all male situation. I mean like prisons, the military and churches with all male staff. A friend of mine told me about the things that go on in a Franciscan monistary. This never makes the news because it involves all adults.And the authorities know about this.

    Young men have raging hormones.

    It’s’ a good argument for a married clergy. I’ve never read about sexual abuse in the Eastern Orthodox church, where there’s a married clergy.

    “Science flies you to the moon. Religion flies you into buildings”–Victor Stenger. See recent article in The Freethinker.

  9. barriejohn says:

    Rob Andrews: I think you may need to have a little rethink!

    The Greek Orthodox Church has certainly been affected by such scandals, as the headlines of national newspapers and Internet websites will attest. The National Herald reported recently that that “the Holy Synod [of the Orthodox Church] is preparing to discuss old sexual scandals that have reemerged, according to high-ranking ecclesiastical officials at the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. Individuals have already contacted the archdiocese asking for monetary compensation in [the] millions of dollars.”

    Take note of this, as well:

    Cardinal Anthony Bevilaqua of Philadelphia made it clear: “All of the cardinals are agreed on zero tolerance, and . . . that no priest guilty of even one act of sexual abuse of a minor will function in any ministry or any capacity in our dioceses.” Nothing, however, was said by the Catholic hierarch about reporting such offenses to the authorities for investigation.

  10. Paul Cook says:


    most of the problem is also that a very very high proportion of these priests are incredibly immature, incapable of understanding sexual situations, incapable of understanding right from wrong and incapable of controlling their urges.

    The studies that have ben conducted by respected psychiatrists, some themselves priests, puts the immature category as high as 60-%.

    There is one central problem in their immaturity, they all go through similar “training”, however who are these trainers? All of this can, perhaps, be reduced to this phrase :
    “the blind leading the blind’.

  11. Trevor Blake says:

    Thank goodness this is an anomaly. Priests have never before raped children, clergy have never hidden rapist priests, and definitely it hasn’t happened all over the world for decades.

    Because if it had happened all over the world for decades, and if Christians themselves didn’t dismantle the Vatican brick by brick to stop it, then criticism of Christianity would have to come from outside it and with no cause to be polite about it.

    Would that hell existed so that these vermin could go there.

  12. Robster says:

    Various popes over the years have stated proudly (apparently) that “only 6% of catholic priests are kiddie fiddlers and child molesters”. They way it’s going, the current Argentinian pope will need to amend that to “66%” or thereabouts. New rules should be introduced to keep anyone under the age of 18 away from churches and their evil gaggle of clergy. This is very important, these clerics can simply not be trusted, in any way ‘specially with children, the truth, church finances and paying tax. They should all be rounded up, locked away in a “special place” and only let loose on Sundays with adult supervision. And they should not be allowed to purchase boiled lollies.

  13. Matt Westwood says:

    @bariejohn: “breathing lessons” is a thing … if you’re singing in a choir, you need to be able to project your voice, and to do that you need to perfect your breathing technique. Hence breathing lessons.

  14. barriejohn says:

    Matt: We all know that, but that’s hardly what was going on here. No doubt taking it up the arse would assist ANYONE in hitting the high notes!

  15. A Confused Atheist says:

    “A defrocked Catholic priest…”…there’s a surprise!

    I can imagine he would be in trouble for abusing children, but I could never imagine that one would be found for abusing dogs. If Jesus is supposed to be coming back one day, he will return, take one look at this Earth, fly to another planet and tell the aliens to nuke the shinola out of Earth.

    This case would make an excellent South Park episode.