Nunavut abuse victim hurls scripture at pedophile ex-priest Dejaeger
Convicted child molester “shall be punished with everlasting destruction,” woman says
The pedophile ex-priest Eric Dejaeger “did not know God,” an Igloolik sexual abuse victim declared Jan. 20 in a victim impact statement that quoted from St. Paul the Apostle’s instructions on how to live a good life.
Dejaeger, who appears before the Nunavut Court of Justice in Iqaluit this week for a sentencing hearing, is guilty on 32 counts, most of them sex crimes against Inuit girls and boys committed between 1976 and 1982 in Igloolik.
The woman, who Dejaeger molested at the Roman Catholic mission in Igloolik when she was aged between five and seven, gave the first of six victim impact statements read in court on the afternoon of Jan. 20.
She quoted verses from St. Paul’s first epistle to the Thessalonians that suggest Dejeager will face the vengeance of God in the afterlife.
“That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified,” the woman said
“For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.”
In a rush of emotion, the woman’s voice broke for a moment. But she continued her brief statement by quoting a verse that suggests Dejaeger “shall be punished with everlasting destruction.”
Dejaeger, who sat upright beside his lawyer, Malcolm Kempt, displayed little reaction to that and numerous other victim impact statements that Crown lawyers have brought to the court since the morning of Jan. 19.
The court is to hear two more brief victim impact statements Jan. 21.
After that, Crown and defence lawyers will give their final sentencing arguments in a sitting that Igloolik residents may view through a videoconference link. Kilpatrick will likely reserve a sentencing judgment until a later date.
Many spectators broke into tears after they heard a statement — completed by his widow — prepared by a man who died of cancer in November 2013.
Dejaeger, at the start of a trial that began that month, entered a guilty plea to one count of indecently assaulting the deceased man.
The man first talked to police in 1994 about abuses that Dejaeger committed against him when he was between eight and 10 years old.
But after 19 years of waiting, the man died before he could give evidence against Dejaeger in court — the Crown used his police statements instead.
The deceased man, who in the 1990s helped encourage others to sue the Roman Catholic church over Dejaeger’s sexual abuse, had given his first formal statement to police in 1994.
That was part of an investigation that led to six counts of indecent assault and buggery that Cpl. Tom Power, then an RCMP member stationed in Igloolik, laid against Dejaeger on Feb. 19, 1995.
But Dejaeger, with the tacit approval of the Oblate order of missionary priests, fled to Belgium and wasn’t brought back to Canada until Jan. 19, 2011.
Because of the man’s inability to testify, and other reasons, Justice Robert Kilpatrick found Dejaeger not guilty on a second charge of buggery that involved the deceased man.
“Had JI lived to testify at this trial many of these gaps might have been filled in. The Court cannot speculate about what JI might have said had he testified,” Kilpatrick wrote in the sentencing judgment he issued Sept. 12, 2014.
The man’s widow said her late partner refused to eat steak — because the taste reminded him of food that he believed Dejaeger mixed with drugs that he used to subdue his victims.
“It reminded him of how Dejaeger took advantage of him,” the widow said.
She also said the man used cocaine and home brew to drown his feelings and often had to be restrained from attacking others he believed to be child molesters.
Victims and family members sitting in the courtroom gallery sobbed, moaned and comforted each other after the end of that statement.
Another man, in a victim impact statement read by Crown lawyer Doug Curliss, said that because of Dejaeger’s abuse, he developed numerous addictions: gas sniffing, liquor, marijuana and cigarettes.
“I lost all trust in authority figures,” the man said, saying he refuses to have his daughter baptized in the church that enabled Dejaeger’s abuse.
The final victim impact statement given Jan. 20 came from a woman who Dejaeger molested at a summer fishing camp when she was between the ages of six and 10.
“My heart is forever broken and it cannot be put back together,” the woman said.