Dejaeger set up sleeping bags for “camping” sessions in church bedroom

Nunatsiaq Online


The Nunavut Court of Justice in Iqaluit heard a fresh voice at the trial of Eric Dejaeger Nov. 29, who said the former priest set up “camping” sessions with sleeping bags for children in an upstairs church bedroom.

Nicole Arnatsiaq was a religion teacher at the school in Igloolik in 1981 and 1982 and lived at St. Stephen’s Catholic Church when Dejaeger was a priest there.

Arnatsiaq told Justice Robert Kilpatrick that Dejaeger used to wear “tight jeans,” but said, “at the time I did not [see] any abnormalities.”

However, she did see sleeping bags upstairs in a bedroom once when Father Robert Lechat, head priest of the church, was away on one of many regular trips to neighbouring missions.

“Eric told me they were camping here,” Arnatsiaq told Crown prosecutor Doug Curliss.

Dejaeger, 66, faces 77 sex-related charges. Of those, he pleaded guilty to eight charges of indecent assault on day one of the trial.

Those charges stem from incidents that are alleged to have occurred in Igloolik during his tenure as a priest there between 1978 and 1982. Most of the witnesses so far have been complainants — there are 39 in total.

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