A defrocked Catholic priest was convicted of 31 counts of sexual offenses for raping and abusing children and one count of bestiality for raping a sled dog in the arctic. Eric Dejaeger, 67, originally of Belgium, worked as a missionary priest for decades in Canada. He was found guilty in Canada's Nunavut territory in Iqaluit. The defrocked priest's trial for raping children and bestiality began in November, according to Yahoo News.
The former priest was convicted of 24 counts of indecent assault, two counts of buggery, one count of unlawful confinement, three counts of unlawful sexual intercourse, one of sexual assault, and one count of bestiality, according to CBC. Justice Robert Kilpatrick's September 12 ruling consisted of a massive 212-page judgment, according to Nunatsiaq Online, which has been uploaded to the internet.
The victims include 12 boys and 10 girls. The canine victim was sexually abused in front of two children.
The defrocked priest originally pleaded guilty to eight of over 80 charges. Unfortunately, because the sex abuse happened decades ago, Justice Robert Kilpatrick ruled the evidence had been weakened.
Dozens of victims of child rape from the Inuit hamlet of Igloolik testified against the defrocked Catholic priest, according to Yahoo News.
Dejaeger, while acting as a missionary, coerced the children into sexual acts and then raped or molested them by threatening them with eternal damnation and separation from their families if they told anyone of his atrocities against them.
Dejaeger worked alongside Igloolik Catholic priests from 1978 until 1982. He eventually acquired his Canadian citizenship.
According to Nunatsiaq Online, the Belgian press called him "Pater Pedo." In a separate case, Dejaeger also faces additional charges in Edmonton that pertain to his time spent at Newman Theological College. Malcolm Kempt, the former priest's defense lawyer, said that that additional case is likely to be wrapped up early next year.
The defrocked priest was also convicted over two decades ago for sexually assaulting eight Baker Lake children in Nunavut, but he was only sentenced to five years in prison for those offenses. Once he was released, more allegations from other victims arose. He rushed to Belgium to hide from facing the additional charges of raping children, but he was arrested in his home country in 2011 on immigration charges and returned to Canada. The defrocked priest remained in custody from that time until the present for his crimes of raping and abusing children and bestiality.
[Photo via Nunatsiaq Online]