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A systemic failure of nation states and religious institutions

By April 12, 2024 No Comments

April 12, 2024 – Ottawa, Ontario 

Disgraced priest Johannes Rivoire has died in France. Rivoire was accused of multiple sexual assaults of Inuit children in Nunavut in the 1960s and 1970s. A report commissioned by the Oblates in Canada concluded in March 2024 that Rivoire committed those crimes, but years of unexplained delays and failures to fully investigate, extradite and prosecute Rivoire in a timely manner allowed the abuser to flee to his home country of France in 1993 and avoid justice until his death.

In 2022, during a visit to the Vatican, ITK President Natan Obed asked Pope Francis to intervene in the case and personally speak with Rivoire to compel him to return to Canada. Later that year, a delegation from Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. travelled to France and confronted Rivoire and urged authorities to extradite him.

Oblate orders in Canada and France collectively appealed to leadership in Rome to commence dismissal proceedings against Rivoire. In late February 2024, the Vatican ruled against his dismissal.

It is a tragedy that Rivoire was able to live out his days without facing justice for his sexual abuse of Inuit children. It is a systemic failure of nation states and of reconciliation that he was never brought to trial, and now, never will be. Inuit have done everything in our power to help bring justice to Rivoire’s victims and their families, but it was not enough.

Our thoughts are with the many victims of Johannes Rivoire and the many victims of abusers who continue to elude justice.

This news is painful. Help is available 24/7 through the Hope for Wellness Help Line: 1-855-242-3310.