Canadian Oblates ‘deeply saddened’ France won’t extradite Rivoire
French officials rejected Canada’s request to extradite priest charged with sexual abuse in Nunavut
Canada’s Oblates say they’re disappointed that France will not extradite a former Nunavut priest charged with a historical sex crime.
The Public Prosecution Service of Canada announced last week it learned French officials would not send Roman Catholic cleric Rev. Johannes Rivoire to Canada to face a charge laid against him in February, stemming from an incident alleged to have happened 47 years ago. France said too much time had passed since that alleged crime occurred and that the country does not extradite its citizens.
Rev. Ken Thorson, the head of the Missionary of Mary Immaculate Lacombe, which is headquartered in Ottawa, said in an email his organization is “deeply saddened” that France denied Canada’s request. The Oblates are an order in the Catholic Church whose members have a long history of working in education.
“The Oblates have continually called for Johannes Rivoire to face his accusers and have previously expressed support for the Public Prosecution Service of Canada’s extradition request,” Thorson wrote.
Rivoire was a priest in Nunavut from the 1960s to 1993. In 1998, he was charged with four counts of sexually abusing Inuit children but he moved to France before they were brought to court. In 2017, those charges were stayed, meaning the prosecution was halted.
But in February, RCMP added a new charge that he had allegedly abused a girl in Whale Cove and Arviat between 1974 and 1979.
That charge has not made it to court. Rivoire’s lawyer, Thierry Dumoulin, told Nunatsiaq News in late October that Rivoire denies all allegations of sexual abuse made against him.
“The accusations are completely unfounded. He contests them,” Dumoulin said in French in an interview last month.
Thorson also said the Canadian Oblates support the disciplinary action started by the French Oblates against Rivoire.
“Although we cannot compel him to participate in a Canadian legal process, the French Oblate Province has initiated disciplinary action for disobedience of direct orders, namely refusing to face justice in Canada,” Thorson said.
Rivoire is a member of the Oblates. In September, the French Oblates began the process of kicking out Rivoire.
“We will continue to provide updates as this process continues,” Thorson said.
Nunavut RCMP Cpl. Tammy Keller said there haven’t been any further charges laid against Rivoire.