Canada has requested the extradition of a French priest accused of sexually abusing indigenous children more than 30 years ago, Canadian Justice Minister David Lametti confirmed on Thursday.
“I am aware that an extradition request sent to France has been made public, which has just been confirmed by ministry officials,” Lametti said in an email to TBEN, refusing to provide further details.
“It is important for Canada and its international partners that serious crimes are fully investigated and prosecuted.”
The French Foreign Ministry confirmed it had received the request and said it was being processed by justice officials.
The announcement comes shortly after Pope Francis completed a historic trip to Canada, where he apologized for the abuse of indigenous children in Catholic schools for decades.
Priest Johannes Rivoire, who spent three decades in Canada’s far north, has been the subject of an arrest warrant in Canada since February, after a new complaint was filed in September for a sexual assault that took place some 47 years ago.
He has never been charged and authorities have not specified the number of alleged victims.
Rivoire had an arrest warrant issued between 1998 and 2017 for sexually abusing three minors. It has never been acted upon. The priest left Canada in 1993 and now lives in France, in Lyon.
A source close to the case told TBEN that Rivoire, who has dual citizenship, is “a problem” because it is “very complicated” to extradite French people.
The 93-year-old priest claimed to be innocent in recent media interviews.
In the Canadian north, his case is still a symbol of the impunity of sexual abusers in the church.
“The Pope is the leader of the Catholic Church and…he should be able to demand that Rivoire face his charges,” Kilikvak Kabloona, the director of an organization representing the Inuit in Nunavut, told TBEN during the visit. of the Pope.
“We want Rivoire to be extradited to Canada to face his charges in court.”