Canada-wide arrest warrant issued for priest accused of sexual assault

Rev. Johannes Rivoire charged with sexual assault on Feb. 22

RCMP have laid a new charge of sexual assault against Johannes Rivoire, a 93-year-old Roman Catholic priest, following a complaint made against the man in September. (File photo)

By David Lochead

A Canada-wide warrant has been issued for the arrest of French Roman Catholic priest Rev. Johannes Rivoire, in relation to a new sexual assault charge laid against him on Feb. 22.

Rev. Johannes Rivoire reportedly now lives in France. (FILE PHOTO)

Nunavut RCMP confirmed the charge on Tuesday, the day after Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami president Natan Obed announced during a news conference in Rome that he’d asked the Pope to help bring Rivoire to Canada.

Rivoire, 93, reportedly lives in France.

The new charge was laid after an investigation by the RCMP into a complaint of a sexual assault that allegedly occurred 47 years ago, Cpl. Tammy Keller said in an email to Nunatsiaq News.

RCMP received the complaint in September, and the investigation that followed involved one female victim.

Inuit have been calling for Rivoire’s extradition to Canada for years.

He worked in Chesterfield Inlet, Arviat, Naujaat, Baker Lake and Rankin Inlet in the 1960s and 1970s, as part of the Missionary Oblates of the Mary Immaculate, a Catholic missionary congregation that ran 48 residential schools across Canada.

In 1997, RCMP laid multiple charges against Rivoire, who left Canada in 1993, in connection to alleged sexual assaults against Inuit children in Naujaat and Arviat, between 1968 and 1970.

Those charges were stayed in 2017, when the Public Prosecution Services of Canada concluded there was no longer a reasonable prospect of conviction.

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(42) Comments:

  1. Posted by John W Paul Murphy on

    Perhaps it is time to put sanctions on France and the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church until Rivoire is returned to Canada for trial. This has gone on long enough.

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    • Posted by Say what… on

      We would be far better off to leave this sick clown where he is and put the money it would cost the Canadian people to support and care for him (93 year old people are expensive to support) if he was brought to Canada into the cost of care of those he harmed.

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    • Posted by Not Going To Happen on

      France doesn’t extradite its citizens. Period.

      Sanctions? For this? No, not going to happen.

      Would have much better luck with delegation of jurisdiction I’d think.

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    • Posted by Concernd on

      Hire , some former special ops to snatch the guy and bring him over. I m sure , he is not hard to find.

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    • Posted by chinooker on

      Trial him in absentia. Sent the bill to Pope. Shame the church. Put all of their names in history books for students to …

  2. Posted by concerned on

    Canada Wide Warrant ? But you knew he had fled in 1993. And knew he was in France. I don’t get it.

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    • Posted by This is Performance on

      Welcome to the spectacle, enjoy the bread and circus… have a nice evening at the theater

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  3. Posted by John K on

    I hope they catch him before he is able to pass peacefully and avoid being held accountable for his actions.

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  4. Posted by Judging by the resolution of the photo on

    He should be apprehended soon

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  5. Posted by Crystal Clarity on

    He’s 93 and France has no extradition agreement with Canada. I’m sure there are many charges which could still be laid and should be, but they will never be able to get him shipped over here to stand trial on Canadian soil. The best they can do is trial in absentia but i doubt that will happen at this point.

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    • Posted by A Rarity on

      This is Canada, trials in absentia are rare rare rare.

      • Posted by Crystal Clarity on

        Just so. Highly unlikely that that will ever happen either. I think it is important however that charges that should be laid are laid to keep this issue alive so people can see the enormity of it and the Catholic Church’s complicity in allowing these pedophiles to continue abusing children all over the world without reparation. Catholic priests were sent all over the word as missionaries in developing countries. These crimes are world wide and the church needs to be help accountable.

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  6. Posted by Beleaver on

    I wonder if Catholic Church always knew when they sent these pedophile priests to Indigenous children.

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    • Posted by No Moniker on

      Almost certainly they did.. we know there are cases where known pedophiles were simply moved to a new place once their dirty deeds became too well known to maintain any kind of secrecy around them. This is a sick, corrupt organization.

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    • Posted by Crystal Clarity on

      In many cases they knew and just moved them around to different locations or put them on sick leave etc…… the hierarchy hid it all the way up to the Vatican. Well known fact.

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    • Posted by Much More Widespread I’m Afraid on

      Very very far from being a specifically an indigenous issue, it has been revealed all over the world – just look at Mount Cashel in Newfoundland and the issues in Ireland, the Philippines, Mexico, Chile, Peru, etc.

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  7. Posted by Dave on

    France along with a long list of countries do not extradite their citizens. It’s well know and there are much more famous examples of it than this.

    This is just false hope for the victims, so some can earn political kudos. This is not a kindness at all for the victims but a disservice..

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  8. Posted by Johanne Coutu-Autut on

    The Churchill Bishop back in the early 90’s helped Rivoire escape out of Arviat to out of the country with just with the clothes on his back and a suitcase to the surprise of his congregation in Arviat. I know personally, I was in Arviat then when this happened. He never returned. This was because they found out that Marius Tungilik had very recently went to the RCMP to disclose that he was sexually abused as a minor by Rivoire. The RCMP was discriminatory againts Marius because he was aboriginal and they did not take his painful and courageous testimony/ disclosure seriously. It should not have taken 5 years to actually lay charges againts Rivoire who had been long gone to a country who does not extradite people . Everyone knew this. This was and still is optics folks. NOTHING will happen again. That pedophile will die a free man. The effects of sexual abuse Marius endured at the Chesterfield Inlet residential school , then later in Naujaat at the hands of Rivoire destroyed our marriage and deeply affected our two children. worse of all it claimed his life at the early age of 55 years of age which has been devastating to his entire family. Shame on the corrupt catholic church and the RCMP who never took his disclosure seriously.

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    • Posted by Uvanga on

      NTI or ITK should represent this group of Inuit who have filed complaints to the court system and bring the group right to abuser and confront him in person. The Inuit way is so much more practical and quicker than going and waiting for the court system. Compainemnts should be assisted to go confront this evil man and reconcile with him if it can be done. We all know the court system can take years and will just prolong the healing process for both sides.

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      • Posted by Pipe Dreams on

        NTI or ITK have no standing in France, they are nobodies there.

        This is an issue to be dealt with between countries. France would, quite rightly tell a special interest group to buzz off and leave its citizens alone and if they have concerns to work through the court system.

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  9. Posted by Tanya Tungilik on

    Canada DOES have an extradition treaty with France, it has since 1988! See the link below:

    https://www.treaty-accord.gc.ca/text-texte.aspx?id=101343

    So why wasn’t Johannes Rivoire extradited in 1993, or 1998, or since then? What was France’s excuse?

    What excuse does the Public Prosecution Services of Canada have for staying the charges made in 1998?

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    • Posted by Read It Again on

      Read it again, specifically article 3 – it very clearly says that they shall not be bound to extradite there own nationals.

      France does not extradite its citizens, as is very common around the world.

      • Posted by Tanya Tungilik on

        Yes, but look at Article 3 clause 2.

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        • Posted by Dave on

          I read it.

          I read that as France, in very rare circumstances, will prosecute for other countries in France. Likely in French too.

          Tanya, I would encourage you to listen to the ITK and GN and then do the real world research. I think you will find the two don’t balance well.

        • Posted by Delegate Delegate on

          Yes, but that is not extradition. As mentioned by another poster, that is more in the realm of delegation of prosecution. That is a whole different can of worms. Are the laws comparable, what are the evidentiary and time limitations?

          • Posted by Dave on

            I am not suggesting it will happen, I think you and I see this the same way.

            The op pointed this clause out as an option and I vaguely remember a GN official once pointing this clause out and grossly oversimplifying it’s use. He is 93, even if some fantastical circumstance allowed this to occur, it would take years. This is not a realistic option.

    • Posted by What Excuse on

      What excuse, you ask.
      The same excuse the USA has for not directly supporting Ukraine.
      Fear.
      The Catholic Church is the most powerful organization in the world.

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  10. Posted by Umingmak on

    Every representative of the church should be held responsible for these crimes, as this is only one example, and there are thousands upon thousands of these exact crimes that have been committed against Indigenous Canadians by the church.

    End tax-free status, and arrest all of those responsible for these crimes, along with every single person within the church who was aware of them, and either didn’t report them to the authorities, did nothing to prevent them, or intentionally concealed them.

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    • Posted by For What? on

      So, what law would you suggest they be arrested under?

      There is, broadly speaking, unless you are a mandated reporter, counsel the crime, etc., no duty to report.

      So, what would you arrest those folks for?

  11. Posted by Just a thought on

    Maybe we should work at getting the convicted abusers who are still in our communities safely BEHIND BARS!

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    • Posted by Sure, but… on

      Why divert from the issue at hand?

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      • Posted by Dave on

        But……. isn’t the issue at hand a diversion from this problem.

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        • Posted by Are you uncomfortable? on

          This story is about a Canada wide warrant for Johannes Rivoire.

          Would you suggest nothing further be done, reported about, or discussed on this until every case of child abuse in Nunavut is dealt with?

          Is it impossible for you to imagine a world were multiple issues are dealt with at a time?

          My suspicion is that this story makes you uncomfortable in some way and so you’ve decided to do what you can to divert peoples attention away from it.

  12. Posted by Civil Law on

    Can individuals, NTI or ITK just put their money where their mouths are and civilly sue the man? You don’t need extradition like a criminal matter and the standard of proof is lower. Seek a declaration that the abuse occurred with damages, that is essentially all what the victims seek and at this stage no court will ever place a 93 year old in a prison.

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    • Posted by Dave on

      No they can’t, they have no “standing”.

      Only actual victims can sue, no group can sue on behalf of victims. That’s just how it works.

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      • Posted by Check your facts on

        Between estates being funded by ITK or these groups seeking public interest standing themselves they will have no issue suing the man. In all likelihood they will win by default and get the declaration they’d seek.

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        • Posted by Dave on

          OK

          Prove me wrong. Or at the very least, explain how I am wrong. While you’re at it, please explain how you win in court by default.

          “To have standing, a party must show an “injury in fact” to their own legal interests. In other words, has the party itself “suffered” some sort of actual harm? “

          • Posted by Check your facts on

            Downtown Eastside, 2012 SCC 45. There is a legal test for public interest standing. This said, and Again, ITK can also provide funding to individuals or their estates to retain lawyers to directly initiate a civil law suit.

            • Posted by Dave on

              I suggest you actually read about that judgement as the Supreme Court clearly says in it’s rules to allow “public standing” that it can only be used when that is the “only” manner in which the issue can be brought before a court. Meanwhile, there is nothing stopping any victim from suing, nothing. Public standing does not apply here.

              As well, it’s really bad taste on your part to compare victims to sex workers, just so you can try to make a point.

  13. Posted by Tulugaq on

    An extradition treaty is binding between two countries and Canada too will not, in principle, extradite its nationals to France. There are exceptions and Canada could ask France to extradite Rivoire but the story doesn’t mention whether Canada is attempting to have him extradited.

    Once Rivoire is the subject of extradition, the next question is whether he can stand trial. Under our laws the mental condition of an accused is important and given his age, he might be in a mental condition (like dementia) that might prevent a prosecution.

    If a trial can take place, then the victims will have to testify in person and will be the subject of cross-examination to test their credibility and, as many witnesses know, this is quite an ordeal. Once the trial is completed, Rivoire will have the benefit of “reasonable doubt” and inconsistencies in the witnesses testimonies and statements will play in favour of the accused. A trial may face delays as is common in Canadian criminal courts, including before the NCJ, which may mean a year or two or perhaps more.

    If convicted, the court will impose a sentence on the 94 or 95 year old convict and will have to take into account his health condition as well as correctional services if he’s sentenced to a period of incarceration. So, Canadian criminal law is complicated and there is no easy answer to this situation to the extent that victims should have an opportunity to examine the options and have a voice in further steps.

  14. Posted by Kathleen Bridel on

    Every concerned person should e- mail their MP with concerns
    I did e- mail possibly bishops about this person a few years ago
    Of course no reply
    I will try again

  15. Posted by Brian Taylor on

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