RCMP confirm child sex abuse warrant for second Arctic priest

IQALUIT, Nunavut – RCMP confirm they have an active arrest warrant on child sex abuse charges for a second Arctic priest who left Canada.

Police in Iqaluit, Nunavut, say Oblate priest Joannis Rivoire is wanted on three sex-related charges dating from his time in Rankin Inlet between 1968 and 1970.

“We have a valid arrest warrant,” Cpl. Yvonne Niego said Thursday. “If he returns to Canada, he will be arrested to face justice.”

Niego said the alleged offences are against children, including a 14-year-old.

Former Oblate priest Eric Dejaeger is currently on trial in Iqaluit on 69 charges of child sexual abuse alleged to have occurred between 1978 and 1982. Dejaeger was originally facing six of those counts in 1995 before he fled to his homeland of Belgium, where he lived for nearly 18 years before he was returned to Canada on immigration violations.

The number of charges against him ballooned after he left and grew after he was flown back to Iqaluit.

Oblate officials in Ottawa confirm Rivoire is alive and living in France. Since leaving Canada, according to Oblate news letters, Rivoire was for some time a treasurer for a well-appointed “retreat-centre-hotel” in France’s Avignon region for fellow members of his order.

Before he returned to the country of his birth, Rivoire had a long history in Canada’s Arctic.

He was posted to Igloolik — the same community where Dejaeger would later serve — from 1960 to 1964. From 1975 to 1993, he worked in several communities on the western shore of Hudson Bay, including Repulse Bay, Rankin Inlet and Arviat.

He is thought to have returned to France in 1993.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether Rivoire became a naturalized Canadian. Many Oblate missionaries, such as Dejaeger, did.

Niego said the arrest warrant is dated December 1998.

“We’re doing whatever we can to bring him to justice.”

Justice Canada officials were not immediately available to say if any attempts have been made to bring Rivoire back.