Canada demands extradition of elderly French priest over sexual abuse allegations

Canada  Ostavizn
AUG 5, 2022 LISTEN
© Ostavizn

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 in an email on Thursday that he was "aware that an extradition request sent to France has been made public, which ministry officials have just confirmed."

"It is important for Canada and its international partners that serious crimes are fully investigated and prosecuted," he added.

The French foreign ministry has confirmed it has received the request and said it was being processed by judicial officials.

The announcement comes shortly after Pope Francis completed a landmark trip to Canada, where he apologised for the abuse of Indigenous children in Catholic-run schools over decades.

Decades of abuse

Fathert 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 occurred some 47 years ago.

He has never been charged and authorities have not specified the number of alleged victims.

Rivoire had been the subject of an arrest warrant between 1998 and 2017 for sexual abuse of three minors.

However, it was never acted upon.

Rivoire maintains he's innocent

The priest left Canada in 1993 and now lives in France, in Lyon.

A source close to the case says that Rivoire, who has dual nationality, represents "a problem" because it is "very complicated" to extradite French people.

In recent media interviews, the 93-year-old priest has maintained that he is innocent of the allegations.

However, in the Canadian north, his case remains emblematic of the impunity of sexual abusers in the Church.