Nunavut Post

Saturday, September 30, 2023

The Inuit leader asks Pope Francis to interfere as a priest charged


Key takeaways: 

  • Father Johannes Rivoire is facing a Canada-wide warrant for his detention.
  • Natan Obed, the Inuit delegation leader, states Inuit wanted this new connection with the Roman Catholic Church to be based on action.

The leader of the Inuit delegation meeting personally with Pope Francis on Monday has called on the Pope to privately interfere in the matter of a fugitive Oblate priest charged with sexually assaulting kids in Nunavut.

CBC News has learned that Father Johannes Rivoire faces a new Canada-wide summons for his detention. Mounties got a complaint in September 2021 regarding sexual assaults almost 47 years ago, says a report sent by Nunavut RCMP following the Inuit delegation’s meeting with the Pope.

Rivoire now stays in Lyon, France. He was never tried on orders in Canada because he returned to France in the earlier 1990s. France does not deport French citizens.

Natan Obed, president of the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, requested Pope Francis to help get Father Johannes Rivoire back to Canada.

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Father Johannes Rivoire faces a new Canada-wide summons for his detention

“I would request you as the head of the Catholic Church to talk with Johannes Rivoire and lead him to return to Canada to stand trial for the harms he has done,” Obed advised the Pope.

“I understand that this action may not be successful for multiple reasons. In that case, I would request you to use your power with the appropriate authorities in France to have Rivoire deported to Canada or tried in France.”

Rivoire, 93, was indicted on February 23, 2022, with sexual assault, according to the Nunavut RCMP report.

The Public Prosecution Service of Canada stated it is alleged that between January 1, 1974, and December 31, 1979, Rivoire indecently attacked a female individual, contrary to section 149 of the Criminal Code. A publication forbidding is in place to safeguard the identity of the suer.

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