Fugitive priest arrives in Canada
Last Updated: Wednesday, January 19, 2011 | 3:54 PM ET
Rev. Eric Dejaeger, a Roman Catholic priest accused of sex crimes against Inuit children in Nunavut in the 1970s and '80s, has arrived in Canada from Belgium, where he had been living for over 15 years.
Dejaeger arrived on a flight from Brussels to Montreal on Wednesday afternoon, a member of the flight crew confirmed to CBC News. The crew member said Dejaeger was accompanied by a law enforcement official, but it was not clear if the official is a member of the Belgian police or the RCMP. The 63-year-old priest is wanted on six charges — three counts of indecent assault on a male and three counts of buggery — related to alleged incidents between 1978 and 1982 in Igloolik, a remote Arctic community in what is now Nunavut.
The Nunavut Court of Justice issued a warrant for Dejaeger's arrest in 2002, in connection with the Igloolik charges. But by then, Dejaeger was living freely in Belgium, where he was born. Dejaeger left Canada in 1995, five years after pleading guilty to nine counts of sex crimes against boys and girls in Baker Lake, another Inuit community in Nunavut. He was sentenced to five years in prison for those offences.
Earlier this month, Belgian immigration officials detained Dejaeger and said they would expel him from the country, as he had overstayed his legal residency there. While Dejaeger was originally born in Belgium, he became a Canadian citizen in 1977, according to Belgian officials.
RCMP said Dejaeger will be flown from Montreal to Iqaluit on Thursday. Once in the territorial capital city, Deajeger is expected to make an appearance on the charges against him in the Nunavut Court of Justice.