Oblate commission investigating Rivoire visits Rankin Inlet
Investigator to speak with survivors and anyone else who might have information about allegations against priest
The Oblate Safeguarding Commission is in Rankin Inlet this week as part of its investigation into Catholic priest Rev. Johannes Rivoire.
In June, retired Quebec Superior Court judge André Denis was appointed to lead the commission and as part of his investigation promised to visit some communities in Nunavut.
Denis arrived in Rankin Inlet on Monday and will be there for two days, he told Nunatsiaq News in an email.
“Out of respect for the process I have committed that I will only take part in media interviews after the report is complete,” he said when asked to provide details on the progress of his investigation thus far.
The commission’s objective is to investigate historical sexual abuse allegations against Rivoire and determine how and why he left Canada.
It also intends to recommend changes to policy and procedures around safeguarding minors and maintaining a higher level of accountability.
Rivoire, now in his 90s, worked as parish priest in Nunavut for more than 30 years, mostly in Arviat and Naujaat, between 1960 and 1992.
Allegations against the priest first came to light in 1993. He moved to France that same year, ostensibly to help his ill father. The RCMP first charged Rivoire in 1998.
Calls for Rivoire’s extradition stretched into 2017, but the charges were ultimately stayed when the Public Prosecution Service of Canada determined there was no reasonable chance of conviction.
In February 2022, a new charge related to alleged sexual abuse was laid against Rivoire in Canada.
The Catholic missionary group Oblates of Mary Immaculate in Canada is supporting the commission in its work, but did not offer comment beyond that.
“Justice Denis’s mandate as independent commissioner involves hearing from victims and their families,” said Rev. Ken Thorson, head of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate.
“His work is ongoing and independent from our congregation.”
The commission has set a deadline of April 1, 2024, for the release of its findings.