Oblate commission investigating Rivoire visits Rankin Inlet

Investigator to speak with survivors and anyone else who might have information about allegations against priest

Rev. Vincent Gruber, leader of France’s Oblates, speaks to reporters during a visit to France last year by a delegation from Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. An independent investigator retained by the order is visiting Rankin Inlet to investigate historical abuse allegations against Rev. Johannes Rivoire. (File photo)

By Jorge Antunes

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.


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(13) Comments:

  1. Posted by Righteous Wrongthinker on

    Hmm, Nunavut still isn’t doing anything about TODAY’S abusers of children and women. But hey, look! A guy who knows the guy who committed crimes over 30 years ago is visiting politely as a virtue signal!

    Make a difference in the lives of Nunavut’s children. Go after TODAY’S abusers. You KNOW who they are.

    Focusing on a guy in a foreign country who you conveniently can’t possibly prosecute from 30+ years ago is not fooling us that you care about the kids.

    • Posted by Red Herring on

      This is a classic red herring if anyone is interested.

      • Posted by S on

        Thanks RW and Red H. You are right. This story about a suspect from the long-ago past is a red herring for the current criminal behavior that occurs in Nunavut communities.

        There is no exception to the rule that blaming someone else for one’s own behavior (victimization) is an extreme form of dishonesty and self-centeredness. The more one rationalizes victimization the more one’s sociopathy.

        In Nunavut communities, organized crime, addiction, and violence in all its forms (oppression, nepotism, classism, condescension, assault of ANY type, suicide and murder) are rampant. Hopelessness is rampant. The cause is the the current crime and oppression – NOT the past.

        Any perspective that directs resources and policy away from the current malaise is corrupt or incompetent. In that light, those who advocate dwelling on the past instead of a total focus on the present must be regarded as corrupt or incompetent.

    • Posted by Hunter on

      I think victims of this priest should sue his former employer who smuggled him out of the country before he could be apprehended.

      The Catholic Church under the name of God has damaged and destroyed too many lives. They got deep pockets, and these child abusers are going t o continue to do this.

  2. Posted by Holy boy on

    Stop supporting catholic churches , protest or evict them from nunavut

  3. Posted by Qavvigarjuk on

    The RCMP are also to blame as they did not act right away when they received statements from the victims. Seven whole years passed before they finally laid charges when important people kept pressuring them to do something! He should have been arrested right away and put through the justice system in a timely manner. They had enough evidence as more than one person came forward. Instead, he fled the country with the aid of the church. Both are responsible for that fiasco. RCMP were obviously prejudiced about the victims as they were only Inuit! Now the RCMP are covering this up and will not release the whole files.

    • Posted by Holy boy on

      Back then it was all white power but we indigenous people are rising

      • Posted by Nip it in the Bud on

        Which is good. What is not good is the deep strain of racism that accompanies this rise in power. I hope that it is addressed and doesn’t grow any worse.

        • Posted by James on

          We, indigenous peoples were once accepting peoples all over this country, First Nations and Inuit allowed colonizers to be their neighbors then for hundreds of years colonizers did not treat us as human beings, treated like lesser creatures because of our culture, our identity and our traditions. Then the past 150 years colonizers tried to wipe out our cultures, our languages and our identities. Today we are fighting tooth and nail to revive our cultures and traditions and languages so they do not parish into the history books.

          Then today a bunch of people say “Get over it” “Its the past”. Hey why have we not heard these same people tell holocaust survivors the same thing? Is it because they are racist themselves? Holocaust happened 80 years ago, the last residential schools closed down 30 years ago. Those who committed the holocaust in Europe were executed, survivors got their justice, yet Canada’s very own holocaust on indigenous peoples no justice has been served to date. Is justice only for while people and we have a two tier racist justice system?

          Today, We, indigenous people are still treated like second class citizens. Our governments refusing to search a land fill for multiple missing and murdered indigenous women in Manitoba, yet they had no problem searching multiple lands fills for a while person in Ontario.

          Little more education? 25% of all incarcerated people today are indigenous. that is 1 out of every 4, yet we only represent 5% of Canadas population or 1 out of every 20 people.

          The fact is there are way more racist colonizers and immigrants than there are indigenous people in Canada. Indigenous people are not equally represented in any federal or provincial/territorial government in Canada other than in Nunavut.

          Yah my fellow indigenous people are rough around the edges, they have reasons to be, there is a level of distrust from past experiences that needs to be over come. Why aren’t Canadian colonizers and immigrants not helping to protest the search of the land fills in Manitoba because honestly there is a divide between us that our societies have created that we need to break down.

          • Posted by How it looks from here on

            Interesting mix of truths, half truth and complete distortions… like it or not most people are likely to tune you out.

          • Posted by James II on

            “treated like lesser creatures because of our culture, our identity and our traditions.”
            No, “treated like lesser creatures because” it helped them justify the taking of the wealth of the land and the sea. They wanted the fish, the furs, the timber, the minerals, and the land to grow crops.
            They could not care less about culture, identity, traditions, or language.

            • Posted by iThink™ on

              It never ceases to amaze how poorly understood the actions and motives of the colonial powers were. Most of our dialogue appears trapped in an unserious and cartoonish loop that just barely approximates reality.

  4. Posted by Inukmarik on

    Where is old policy. Nwy governance old government power which it was held during the incident. They are liars not to be trusted.


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