So-called Pedophile Priest Eric Dejaeger has been sentenced to 19 years, minus eight years for time served, for the sexual abuse of more than two dozen Inuit children during the 1970s and ’80s.
Now 67, DeJaeger was found guilty last September on “24 counts of indecent assault, one of unlawful confinement, two of buggery, three of unlawful sexual intercourse, one of sexual assault and one of bestiality,” CBC News described at the time. He victimized at least 10 girls and 13 boys by luring, threatening or assaulting them, according to the Nunatsiaq News and other media. One incident involved a dog, CBC News said.
“Your selfishness has devastated a generation of young Roman Catholic parishioners in Igloolik. Many lives have been irrevocably altered by your dark legacy,” Justice Robert Kilpatrick told Dejaeger at the sentencing, according to the Nunatsiaq News, later telling reporters, “He was a wolf masquerading as a good shepherd. His life as a priest was a lie.”
Dejaeger had fled to Belgium in 1995 after serving five years for abusing children in Baker Lake, Nunavut, and learning he would face further charges in Igloolik, the Canadian Press said. He was discovered and brought back to Canada to face those charges in 2011.
Kilpatrick was as unsparing in his condemnation of DeJaeger as the priest had been toward his victims.
"Many lives have been irrevocably altered by your dark legacy,” Kilpatrick said in his February 4 decision, quoted by CBC News. “For many victims, the commission of your offence has marked the end of living and the beginning of their survival. You must now atone for the many wrongs that you have inflicted on others. This sentence is only the beginning of that atonement."
Dejaeger has not yet been tried on similar charges that he faces in Edmonton for alleged offenses between 1975 and 1978, CBC News said.
Meanwhile, Kilpatrick said he hoped that Igloolik victims at least could use the outcome to help them further move on with their lives.
“Your anger must be put aside,” Kilpatrick entreated Dejaeger’s victims in his written decision, according to the Canadian Press. “Your trust in others must be restored. You must learn to rely on the good around you.”