‘I will protest outside his residence’: Inuit to seek priest’s extradition

Rev. Johannes Rivoire refuses to meet with delegation headed to France next week

Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. president Aluki Kotierk, seen in this file photo, and a delegation of Inuit will head to France next week to demand the extradition of Rev. Johannes Rivoire, a Roman Catholic priest accused of sexual abuse while serving in Nunavut. (File photo by Meral Jamal)

By Emma Tranter

A Roman Catholic priest who was accused of sexually abusing Inuit children during his time in Nunavut has refused to meet with a delegation of Inuit heading to France next week to demand his extradition, according to Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. president Aluki Kotierk.

Rev. Johannes Rivoire, 91, spent more than 30 years as a parish priest, mostly in Arviat and Naujaat, between 1960 and 1992. He was accused of sexually abusing children during that time, some as young as six years old.

In 1998, the RCMP laid three charges against Rivoire for one count of indecent assault against three boys and one count of sexual assault against a girl in Naujaat, between 1968 and 1970. Those charges were stayed in 2017 when prosecutors concluded there was no longer a reasonable prospect of conviction.

In February of this year, police charged him again, this time with a sole count of committing indecent assault against a girl in Arviat and Whale Cove between 1974 and 1979.

In July, officials with Canada’s Department of Justice asked France to extradite Rivoire so he could face justice here.

Speaking at a news conference Wednesday, Kotierk said NTI asked to meet with Rivoire through a letter to Rev. Vincent Gruber, who leads France’s Oblates, a Catholic order that has long been associated with education.

Kotierk said Rivoire’s lawyer answered the letter on Aug. 29 to say the priest would not meet with the delegation when they go to Lyon, France, on Sept. 14 and 15.

“Why has Rivoire refused to speak with his victims even after inviting them?” Kotierk said.

Rivoire has given comments to media this year, implying he’d meet with any of his alleged victims.

“If they want to talk to me, they have to come. I’m 92 years old, I have a lot of [health] problems. I haven’t left my room for more than six months except to eat. If anybody wants to see me …let them come see me,” Rivoire told Le Progrès in a French interview published in May.

Kotierk said despite Rivoire’s refusal to meet, it’s critical to raise awareness with the French public about Rivoire’s extradition before both he and the victims of his alleged abuse get too old.

“I think that by bringing public pressure [it] will get us to the point where we can have [the] extradition of Johannes Rivoire before it’s too late,” she said.

Kotierk added she has been told that some of the Oblates are still encouraging Rivoire to meet with the Inuit delegation, and she is optimistic that meeting will happen.

While in France, the delegation will meet with Gruber and with Antoine Garapon, president of the Independent Commission on Recognition and Reparation, which investigated sexual crimes committed within the Catholic Church in France.

The delegation includes one man who says he was abused by Rivoire and two children of a man who also said he was a victim, but has since died.

The daughter of one of the victims said awareness alone is not enough.

“He needs either to face justice or I need to say what I want to say to him. It would be preferable if I could see him face to face. If not, I will protest outside his residence,” the deceased man’s daughter said.

Nunatsiaq News is not naming the woman because it’s not clear if a court-ordered publication ban on identifying her father is in effect.

“My father died before he saw any justice. So it’s up to my brother and I to continue what he started.”

Today, Rivoire lives in a public retirement home called Saint-François d’Assise, in the centre of Lyon.

In an interview with APTN National News in July, Rivoire denied all allegations that he sexually abused Inuit children.

Kotierk said NTI has also asked to meet with French President Emmanuel Macron and other French officials in Paris on Sept. 13.

“I strongly believe that the French public will support Rivoire’s extradition to Canada to face these charges,” she said.

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(44) Comments:

  1. Posted by I live in the Arctic on

    this money ought to have been spent on healing programs for those abused by sexual assault.

    this is all for a the stage.

    • Posted by Society of the Spectacle on

      Ah but humans love good theater, it can achieve more than you give it credit for, at the very least a well orchestrated spectacle is something unforgettable. Would you rather this was all forgotten?

    • Posted by Nunavut on

      Anything for votes. Money should be used for healing programs for those who suffered.

      NTI is a joke! No wonder voter turnout is low. Come’on people vote her out.

  2. Posted by Beleaver on

    Time to find a sensible leader, when is the next NTI election?

    • Posted by Will Turner on

      Mayhap someone can nominate the last Nunavut MP. ??

  3. Posted by Observer on

    While NTI is on this mission, can they also inquire if the magical ability to change French law and policy they seem to think they have can be borrowed by the Chilean, Italian, American, and New Zealand governments so they can get the assorted convicted murderers, terrorists, and rapists that France has also not allowed to be extradited?

  4. Posted by Art Thompson on

    Probably get arrested for mischief and put on the next plane.

    • Posted by Get the Popcorn on

      Hmmm, foreigners on, presumably, tourist visas engaged in protest.

      Better double-check French law, as in many places protesting and other political activity is incompatible with visa status.

      If she arrested I look forward to watching the video.

  5. Posted by First class on

    Hmmmmm I wonder if aluki will sit in economy or first class for the flight over. How can we find out.

    • Posted by Northern Guy on

      Hopefully this is a rhetorical question because I think that we all know the answer already. If it was my money being wasted on this useless piece of theater I would be livid.

    • Posted by Uvanga on

      As nunavut inuit benefactors of the land claims, should they Nti consult with us on what their priority spending will be for each year. Did we or our reps agree to this mission?

  6. Posted by Arnaq on

    Why are you doing this? He’s going to hell already. Spend the money on better things.

  7. Posted by John K on

    Performative and useless gesture.

    Is there an election coming up?

  8. Posted by Northern Mom on

    When will we hold NTI accountable!? They sit on millions of dollars instead of helping us. They waste hundreds of thousands on pointless and shameful lawsuits instead of helping us. They squander thousands on pointless trips and perks for their staff INSTEAD OF HELPING US!!!! TIME IS UP – Do better NTI. You should be ashamed of yourselves.

    • Posted by Help us on

      NTI will never actually help Nunavut Inuit. Aluki would rather spend her time in Nuuk, New York City, Iceland, France and elsewhere. Like her predecessors, NTI and her $400K+ salary are just one big, personal slush fund.

      • Posted by So what? on

        I’m no fan of Aluki, but anyone with any sense at all would rather spend their time in Nuuk, Iceland or France than in Nunavut. Most of us don’t have that option of course. Is that the real issue here?

  9. Posted by Atatsiak on

    You are a waste of our time Aluki. You are a shame to Inuit.

  10. Posted by How it looks from here on

    The mob goes wild once again in the Nunatsiaq News comments section. What a lack of imagination you all have.

    • Posted by Hive mind on

      I’ve rarely seen so much mindless froth, what a joke.

  11. Posted by Northern Inuit on

    seriously what a COLLOSAL waste of money.

    I guess besides a new facebook picture in front of the Eiffel Tower we can expect one picture in front of his house?

    how many days of this free NTI Tour will it cost? who else is going with her? because it’s such a long flight, you know she ain’t going to sit with the rest of the peons in the back.


  12. Posted by Reality on

    Wow, if they ever find the time to protest outside the homes of the sex offenders in Nunavut, things might actually start to change! Let’s pivot this energy to an action that could actually solve the problem, NTI! You can do it!

    • Posted by Bill Tagalik on


    • Posted by I live in the Arctic on


    • Posted by Uvanga on

      Totally agree with your comment but we just need to be strategic because many of these abuser also have children who can be devastated with this sort of action. Unfortunately, this can be traumatizing for the family involved but there has to be a way. Many of us Inuit are related to the abusers and most likely our leaders are connected to many as well. Its a tough one where we need to break the cycle of sexual abuse.

  13. Posted by Putting this out there on

    I really hope this helps the kids of the victims and that the pain that was passed down stops with them and they can get something from this trip.

    We can not allow abusers to get away with it or allow the public to forget/ ignore the problem. I also hope NTI will also put as much effort into all the other abuse that is occurring right now in our communities. Where we have community leaders that have abused and either gotten away with it or after the slap on the wrist are just pretended it didnt happen.
    Where is the justice in that?
    We need to support people calling out there abusers, no mater their age or status.

    • Posted by Uvanga on

      Victims will never get justice up here unless you want to just confront your abuser outside the system. The system takes too long and it only gives you agony. Some of us will never confront our abusers but we sure make it known that the community knows who abused us. This is survival mode in a small community because you have to see and work and go to school with their family everyday of your life. Very difficult to publicize these issues in a small town

  14. Posted by The children on

    Absolutely terrible. What about the children who are still being abused in Nunavut TODAY?!?!? Instead of flying to France first class for meetings that will result in nothing but a paid holiday for a bunch of overpaid NTI staff, why don’t you do something about the current lack of support and services to support Nunavuts families and the children who are still abused TODAY. Go after the current politicians with shameful pasts of abuse. Build programs or services to support healing and provide protection for the children still being taken advantage of in every community. It’s time for change at NTI. The current leadership is a sham. You hire colonial consultants and lawyers from the south to do pointless work that helps cover up you’re uselessness. THIS is the scandal Nunavummiut should be screaming about. Investigate NTI Nunatsiaq News. Tell us what they do? Where is the money? Open the door for Inuit to see what’s really going on behind the NTI facade and closed doors!!!

    • Posted by Northern Guy on

      VERY WELL SAID!!! There are horrendous abuses occurring here all the time with Ms. Kotierk and her retinue completely ignoring the issue whilst spending NOTHING on programming to help hurting families. I guess they would rather spend the money on first class tickets to Europe to undertake a bit of performance art that will make absolutely no difference in getting Msr. Rivoire extradited.

      • Posted by Uvanga on

        NTI is not responsible for programming, however, they can lobby governments to do more for Inuit and encourage their membership Inuit to be more involved in social issues. Encourage inuit to be councillors mental health workers social worker, correctional workers because right now we don’t have many at all. All they do is wine to the world and not work with Inuit. Oh and we need Inuit teachers to carry on our language but where are the Inuit that will do this much needed work. I only wish for more Inuit to join these professions that are greatly required.

        • Posted by Northern Guy on

          There is nothing stopping NTI from establishing wellness and healing programs except the will to do so.

  15. Posted by Why? on

    Why is Aluki getting attacked over this? She’s trying to help many victims and their family members heal effected by this monster’s terrible abuse. Maybe she is doing this because that is what they need, support from our people. She is on our side! This shows that she cares and have compassion, I will definitely vote for her again!

    A healing facility costs billions of dollars and will take time to build with all of our politicians and many others working together. People comparing this facility to helping sexual abuse victims and generational trauma to get this monster to face justice needs to think.

  16. Posted by Delbert on

    A great step forward for the people of Nunavut and Canada.
    Aluki and her cohorts are stepping up their game. After conquering all the problems. Facing the people of Nunavut.
    Plus having used her diplomatic skills to get the federal government to agree. With her on her poorly thought out agenda.
    Now she is moving into international politcs. She is taking with her all the power of NTI. Move aside UN, Interpol, the Government of Canada and France. Because Aluki and her minions are going to France to demand the extradition father Rivoir. After that it’s on to
    Kiv and Moscow. Were she will use all her skills to bring peace to Eruope.
    Look out world the Great Aluki leader of the reveared NTI. Is coming. Her diplamatic skills are greater than Kissinger’s. Her oratory skills equal to DR. Martin Luther king.
    All of this should only cost the Inuit people say 250 thousand.
    I only write these things to shine the ligh of failure. On the types of laeder ship. That populates so many organizations that is supposed to represent the Inuit. The people of Nunavut are good they are trying to better themselves. I see progress all the time. Father Rivoir
    behaviour is unacceptable and he should be held accountable. But it takes the Government of Canada. To make a request to the French government to ask for extradition. All of Aluke’s grand standing and BS is not going. To have one iota of impact in the Government of France.

    • Posted by Uvanga on

      Aluki is great at representing us at the UN and maybe that is where she belongs. We need to hear more from her when it comes to our small communities which are majority inuit. We don’t even know what benefits we get from the land claims and only hear how horrible our govt is. Inuit are getting so angry more so than ever before. We Inuit need help hear in our own Territory. Ninngaumajutuinnaaluliratta

  17. Posted by uvanga on

    The creation of Nunavut was a shining example of Inuit diplomacy. Sadly, those days seem to be in hiatus. The President of NTI is ignorant of diplomatic skills or feels entitled to behave badly on the international front. Is she not one of those same leaders who embarrassed us by leaving the Papal audience as His Holiness was still delivering his apology address in Iqaluit? Would she have done that to any other 84-year old Elder who was speaking? Hopefully not. But those with petty minds behave in petty ways. Petty manners do not maketh the leader.

  18. Posted by Leave it to Beaver on

    Delegate – “I will protest outside his residence”.
    Rivoire – “I haven’t left my room for more than 6 months”
    I can already see how effective this is going to be.

  19. Posted by Nanauq on

    (Reminder to myself.) Women must stop believing the devil’s lie that the only role of significance is that of leadership. Pg. 62. God’s high calling for women by John MacArthur.

    • Posted by WTF am I reading? on

      Here is a dude who thinks women should be in the kitchen making sami after sami all day, lol

  20. Posted by Frankly on

    Aluki and her NTI posse . NTI has never done anything really for it’s own people
    NTI and their delegation are all a conglomerate family that will wine and dine at France ! I think We need someone from each Nunavut community to run this circus .

    • Posted by Uvanga on

      The kabloona runs the show at NTI. Check out the lawyers hired by NTI to represent us

  21. Posted by strawman on

    This has the makings of having no idea how to actually deliver impactful change, relying on demonstrations/protests and hoping someone else does the actual work for you. Gambling someone else’s time and money on a lifelong predator’s sense of shame, guilt and decency to achieve results, may as well buy a lotto ticket.

  22. Posted by Anaanamous on

    What a gong show. What are they going to do when they return to Canada without Reviore. Can we make them pay for their holiday trip to France? All of us pay for our own holidays with our hard earned money and these rich folks go on paid holidays. When is the next election? I’m going to make sure I use my voice and vote. No more alukis or pjs or mumilaaqs please. I don’t have anything against them it’s just we need help and we’re not getting it from them.

  23. Posted by Stop on

    Why thaven’t they sued the man in civil court to get a judgment confirming the allegations for those survivors and their families? You don’t need a criminal court to accomplish justice and give vindication for victims. Anything is better than this road show, the cost and expense of which could have built a few tiny homes for those down by the beach.

  24. Posted by Canadian dude on

    French police should take you away! Going to another country to harass someone outside their house – your Canadian rights don’t work there! So arrogant that you think your Canadian rights transfer to other countries.

  25. Posted by embarrassed nti card holder on

    i cant wait to see picture of her posing outside of effiel tower
    go, go out there while nunavut is suffering today, instead of make our store food decreases the prices, those who deals with mental issues, someone already out there raping, help and encourage our young people to nursing program because whole world is short staff.

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