Defrocked child abusing priest tells judge he’s sorry and won’t commit any more crimes

IQALUIT, Nunavut — A defrocked priest who abused a large number of Inuit children has told a judge that he’s sorry for his crimes and won’t commit any more.

At those words from Eric Dejaeger, an Iqaluit courtroom packed with his victims swelled with cries and weeping.

Dejaeger, convicted on 32 counts of child sexual abuse, took the witness stand before Justice Robert Kilpatrick considers the length of his prison sentence.

The Crown has asked for 25 years, which would be reduced to 17 years once credit for time already served is subtracted.

Dejaeger’s lawyer says 12 years — of which no more than four would be spent behind bars — would be more in keeping with previous judgments.

The defence says Dejaeger, who is 67, is being treated for cancer, has heart problems and fears dying in prison.

The prosecution says the former Oblate priest permanently blighted the lives of his victims with his crimes, which occurred in the Nunavut community of Igloolik about 35 years ago.