France won’t extradite retired priest Johannes Rivoire, accused of sexually abusing Inuit children

Public Prosecution Service of Canada says there’s still a ‘reasonable’ chance Rivoire can be prosecuted

Johannes Rivoire in Arviat in 1979.

By Amy Tucker

France will not extradite a priest facing historical sexual assault charges in Nunavut, but there’s still a chance he could be prosecuted in Canada by other means.

A news release Wednesday from the Public Prosecution Service of Canada (PPSC) says French authorities denied the extradition request for Johannes Rivoire on Oct. 14.

The extradition request was made by the federal Department of Justice on behalf of the PPSC.

French authorities said there are two reasons the request is being denied.

The first relates to French law — France can’t extradite its own citizens.

“France has determined that at the relevant time Mr. Rivoire was a citizen of France,” the release said.

The second reason, which also falls under French law, is because “too much time” passed between the events and the charges being laid.

That’s also the reason French authorities said they could not prosecute Rivoire in France.

Rivoire was charged this past February with one count of indecent assault on a female, who was child at the time of the alleged offence. It happened between January 1974 and December 1979.

Allegations against him date much further back, though — previous charges against him had been outstanding for years but were stayed in 2017.

People in Nunavut have spent nearly two decades pushing for Rivoire to be extradited.

An Inuit delegation travelled to France in September to implore French officials to grant Canada’s extradition request. They also confronted the retired priest while there.

Tanya Tungilik, who was part of the delegation and whose father Marius Tungilik had accused Rivoire of sexual abuse, said at the time it was “liberating” to finally tell Rivoire the things she has wanted to say for so long.

In an interview with CBC Wednesday, she called the denied extradition request “a gut punch” but not totally shocking.

“I wasn’t really surprised,” Tungilik said.

She’s still hoping that people in Nunavut who allege abuse by Rivoire, especially between 1990 and 1993, come forward. That way she said, it’s possible charges could be laid against him.

“Then that will still give us a chance to bring it to court in France within their statute of limitations,” Tungilik said. “I’m still hoping for that.”

Tungilik said she also wants to see a lawsuit against the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, “or those who aided and abetted the abusers.”

Three people sit on chairs with their hands in their laps.
Steve Mapsalak, left, Tanya Tungilik and Jesse Tungilik spoke to reporters in Lyon, France, in September about their meeting with Johannes Rivoire.

He’s accused of sexual abuse of several other people as well who were children at the time, carried out while he worked in Nunavut starting in the 1960s.

Prosecution in Canada could be possible if Rivoire leaves France

Rivoire has repeatedly said he has no intention of coming back to Canada, and has denied the charges of abusing Inuit children.

The news release from the PPSC said “all potential legal recourse” to obtain Rivoire’s extradition from France or to have him prosecuted in France have been exhausted.

However, the PPSC said it is working with the RCMP for Interpol to issue a red notice. That would allow for Rivoire to be arrested in any other country.

“Therefore, prosecution in Canada remains possible if Johannes Rivoire leaves France,” the release said.

Tungilik said she’s not overly confident on this plan, especially because she doubts Rivoire will leave the country willingly.

Both the prosecution file and a warrant for Rivoire’s arrest remain active.

Complete Article HERE!

Court documents reveal the names of more than 100 alleged residential school abusers

By Brittany Guyot

APTN Investigates has learned that 82 Catholic priests and nuns were named as alleged abusers in Manitoba residential schools.

A review of court documents detailed horrific physical and sexual abuses of Indigenous children in the federal residential school system.

The investigation uncovered 146 lawsuits that reveal the names of more than 100 alleged abusers from the Oblates of Mary Immaculate [OMI] and the Missionary Oblates Sisters, who staffed the schools.

The Catholic orders were put in charge of eight of 14 residential schools that operated in Manitoba. There were 139 residential schools opened nationally to assimilate thousands of Inuit, Métis and First Nations children.

The documents show the lawsuits were filed in the late 1990s and early 2000s, years before the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement [IRRSA] was finalized.

Residential school survivor Mary Vanasse isn’t surprised to hear how many alleged abusers walked the halls of her former school in Manitoba.

The majority of the lawsuits were abandoned the same year the settlement was finalized.

Mary Vanasse was sent to Sandy Bay Indian Residential School. She said the memories still haunt her.

“I think at first, I was really scared when I started seeing how the nuns were so abusive to the children,” she said.

Vanasse said it was common knowledge that children were being abused at Sandy Bay.

“The older girls were going around bugging the little girls, because I know it happened to me a couple times myself,” she said, “and somebody jumped in bed with me and tried to touch me and wanted me to touch them. And when I refused, she hit me.”

Vanasse isn’t surprised to hear how many alleged abusers walked the halls of her former school.

“I think there should have been some consequences,” she added, noting she feels the alleged abusers should have been criminally investigated.

Vanasse said her road to healing has been a long journey. She said spending time with her grandchildren and journaling have helped her along the way.

Later this year, she is set to publish a memoir about her residential school experience.

Rita Guimond is a survivor of the Fort Alexander Residential School that was located on Sagkeeng First Nation.

APTN Investigates identified a lawsuit she filed in 2004 against the Catholic church and the government of Canada.

“We were given different clothes to put on, and our clothes had numbers,” she said.

Rita Guimond filed a lawsuit alleging she was abused at residential school against the Catholic church and government of Canada.

Guimond said her time at Fort Alexander was devastating. For years, it impacted her ability to show love to her own children, she added.

Court documents reveal the residential school housed more than 70 alleged abusers from the 1930s to the 1960s.

Including Fr. Arthur Massé, who was charged in June of this year with indecently assaulting a girl at the school.

Massé was accused of physical and sexual abuse in five separate lawsuits from 1998 to 2006.

Those lawsuits were abandoned in 2006 when IRSSA was finalized.

Massé is among dozens of Oblate priests accused of abuse, including Fr. Apollinaire Plamondon.

Residential school survivor Theodore Fontaine, who attended Fort Alexander Residential School, identified Plamondon as his alleged abuser in his memoir Broken Circle.

In an APTN News interview in 2014, Fontaine alleged Plamondon was a “sexual perpetrator.”

“Most of these people in this area, when they got their settlements under the residential school agreement, you’d say to them, ‘Man, you have a beautiful truck.’ They’d say, ‘Yeah, that’s my Plamondon car,’” Fontaine told APTN’s Cheryl McKenzie at the time.

APTN Investigates found Plamondon was named in 32 different lawsuits alleging physical and sexual abuse.

No criminal charges were ever laid against the now-deceased priest.

According to Fr. Ken Thorson, who speaks for OMI in Canada, Plamondon was referenced in 16 Independent Assessment Process [IAP] hearings. The hearings were held for survivors to testify about the abuse they suffered in support of their claims for compensation under IRSSA.

“The Oblates of Mary Immaculate are committed to full transparency about our role in Canada’s [Indian Residential Schools] system, including the operation of 48 schools [across Canada],” Thorson said in an email.

IRSSA was negotiated to address the harms caused by the schools. It awarded $1.9 billion to survivors, 26,000 of whom were put through IAP hearings to reveal serious physical and sexual abuses.

Complete Article HERE!

Inuk man faces priest who allegedly abused him when he was a child

President of ‘Nunavut Tunngavik’ organization Aluki Kotierk (fifth right), Canadian politician and victim Steve Mapsalak (fourth right), daughter of a victim, Tanya Tungilikand (right) and fellow members of the Inuit delegation are welcomed by Father Vincent Gruber (left) at the ‘Oblats de Marie Immaculée’ (The Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculte) religious congregation in Lyon, on Sept. 14.

An Inuk man who alleges he was sexually abused by a former Oblate priest in Nunavut when he was 13 years old says meeting the man face to face after nearly three decades was a relief.

Steve Mapsalak was part of a delegation led by Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., a group representing Nunavut Inuit, that travelled to France last week to seek the extradition of Johannes Rivoire to Canada. The group met with French and Oblate officials, as well as with Rivoire himself.

Mapsalak, who was formerly mayor of Naujaat, Nvt., and served two terms as a member of the Nunavut legislature, said he initially had mixed feelings when he was approached to join the trip. He said he decided to face Rivoire as he believed it could be a healing experience.

“After I did and said what I needed to say to him, I felt a release inside me and I felt a lot better,” he said by phone from his home in Naujaat on Tuesday. “It’s helped me really very much.”

Inuk woman says she came forward to RCMP several times before charge laid against Father Johannes Rivoire

Mapsalak said he spoke to Rivoire, who is now 91 and lives in a care home in Lyon, in Inuktitut as he had spoken and understood the language when he lived in Nunavut.

“I told him I know that he knew exactly what he did to me when I was a child and when I was helpless.”

Mapsalak said Rivoire responded that he didn’t remember anything. He told the former priest he wanted an apology.

“That’s when I left the room, I couldn’t stand looking at him anymore.”

Mapsalak said the last time he saw Rivoire was at the airport in Winnipeg in 1993. He said Rivoire was leaving Canada following allegations that he had abused Inuit children.

“I didn’t get close to him but when he saw me I noticed that his face got really red,” he recalled.

Rivoire was an Oblate priest in Nunavut from the 1960s until 1993 when he returned to France. Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. alleges he abused up to 60 children during that time.

The allegations have never been heard in court and Rivoire has denied any wrongdoing.

A Canadian warrant was issued for Rivoire’s arrest in 1998, but criminal charges related to the alleged sexual abuse of four children were stayed in 2017.

Following a new complaint, Rivoire was charged in February with one count of indecent assault of a girl in Arviat and Whale Cove between 1974 and 1979. Canadian judicial authorities have sent an extradition request to France.

Although Canada and France share an extradition treaty, France does not traditionally extradite its citizens. During a meeting with the Inuit delegation, officials with the country’s Justice Ministry said extraditing a French national would violate a constitutional principle. The group said they do not agree that France is prohibited from extraditing its citizens.

The Oblates of Mary Immaculate said they have repeatedly urged Rivoire to face the charges against him, but he has refused to return to Canada. As a result, Oblate leaders in France have said they have decided to dismiss Rivoire from their congregation.

Mapsalak said he still hopes to see Rivoire face justice in Canada.

Nadia Debbache, a French lawyer who is working with Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. on the case, said she plans to file a complaint against the Oblates and pursue legal action for allegedly concealing a criminal.

“I am in the process of preparing this complaint so that all light may be shed on the behaviour of this congregation,” she wrote in an email.

Complete Article HERE!

Oblates dismiss Rivoire as retired priest denies abuse allegations at meeting with Inuit

Delegates surprised to learn retired priest would be at meeting with Oblates

Kilikvak Kabloona, the CEO of Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., spoke to reporters after a meeting with the Oblates of Mary Immaculate in Lyon, France, on Wednesday.

By April Hudson

The delegates have been in France all week to call for the extradition of retired priest Johannes Rivoire, who has been charged in Canada with sexual assault dating back to his time in Nunavut in the 1960s and 1970s.

The meeting with Rivoire was one the delegation had sought, but hadn’t received any word about until they were nearly at their destination in Lyon, France.

Kilikvak Kabloona, the CEO of Nunavut Tunngavik, said delegates were emotional when they heard who would be at the meeting.

“I ask you to respect that this is a very difficult time for the survivors, and they might not be willing to speak with you at this time,” Kabloona told media before the meeting.

“It’s a very difficult situation. We did not have a lot of time to prepare … It’s short notice for such a significant meeting.”

A group of people crowd around a cluttered table.
Father Vincent Gruber, second from left, with the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, met with Inuit delegates from Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. in France on Wednesday.

After the meeting, Kabloona said delegates left through a different entrance.

Rivoire appeared to acknowledge and remember some of the delegates, including Steve Mapsalak, Kabloona said, but denied all charges of abuse.

“He is refusing to travel to Canada to face justice because of his skin condition,” she said. Rivoire told APTN in July he has eczema all over his body.

Rivoire worked in many Nunavut communities in the 1960s and 1970s, but returned to France in the early 1990s before he could be tried on abuse charges.

While some charges against him were stayed in 2017, the RCMP confirmed in March that more charges have been laid and they had issued a Canada-wide warrant for his arrest.

Confronting Rivoire in person was ‘worth the whole trip’

After the meeting, Tanya Tungilik, who is among the delegates, recounted what it was like for her to see Rivoire in person.

“I just looked at him for about 10, 15 seconds just to take him all in, take this monster in. And then that’s when I started to speak. Well, more like yell at him about what he did to my father,” she said. “That I didn’t have a dad anymore because of him. That he ruined his life. And lots of other not nice words.”

Tungilik said she didn’t give him a chance to speak either.

“I didn’t want to hear anything he had to say nothing because I knew it was going to be all lies … I said what I wanted to say, what my dad always wanted to say.”

Tungilik said it was “liberating” and emotional to finally say it to his face.

“I went straight out the door, outside the back door and then I just cried the hardest. I haven’t cried that hard in a long time,” she said.

“Aluki [Kotierk] was holding me as I cried. Being able to do that was worth the whole trip. I don’t care if he doesn’t get extradited, if he dies. Saying what I needed to say to him meant everything to me.”

Oblates dismiss Rivoire from congregation

Father Vincent Gruber, who is with the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, said the Oblates will continue trying to convince Rivoire to return to Canada, but don’t have the power to force him to go.

Speaking in French, Gruber said the Oblates have finally decided to dismiss Rivoire from their congregation. It will take a couple months to complete the process.

“This was after several refusals from him to collaborate [and go to Canada],” he said.

A man speaks into a microphone on a street.
Father Vincent Gruber, with the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, speaks to media following a meeting Wednesday with Inuit delegates from Nunavut Tunngavik Inc.

Gruber said the Oblates expressed to delegates Wednesday that they believe it’s important Rivoire stand trial “as much for the presumed victims, the Inuit people, but also for all the missionaries from the Oblates and the Catholic Church.”

Gruber said the Oblates plan to reach out to the Vatican next to see if they can put more pressure on Rivoire to return.

He said it was very difficult to get Rivoire to meet with victims because of his health and other reasons, but he eventually agreed to do so.

“It was very important for us that Rivoire listens to the presumed victims, because it’s his duty … We are happy that we insisted and he said yes,” Gruber said.

“We know that it doesn’t solve everything — we have a lot of work to do together.”

France still working with Canada, says justice ministry

The meeting with the Oblates comes a day after delegates had what they described as a disappointing meeting with French officials.

In that meeting, which did not involve France’s justice minister, delegates said they heard that extraditing Rivoire to Canada would violate France’s constitution, and that he couldn’t be tried in France on Canadian charges because the statute of limitations for the charges would have run out under French law.

Inuit leaders met with French officials in Paris to press for the extradition of ex-priest, Johannes Rivoire, who is facing charges of abuse in Nunavut. CBC Nunavut’s Teresa Qiatsuq met afterwards with Nunavut Tunngavik’s Aluki Kotierk, who said she is frustrated at the lack of political will in France to send this man to justice.

In a statement Wednesday, the French Ministry of Justice said the practice of not extraditing nationals is part of France’s “constitutional tradition.”

However, the ministry added, France has been working closely with Canada and has requested “all the elements necessary to establish the facts and to interrupt the period of limitation of public action.”

The ministry said France is ready to respond to any request for mutual legal assistance from Canada.

Complete Article HERE!

We summarize the Rivoire case

— This priest accused of sexual violence on Inuit children in Canada

By lookcharms

Joannes Rivoire, 92, who resides in Lyon, is the subject of an extradition request filed in early August by Ottawa. He is accused of sexually assaulting young Inuit in the 1960s when he was on a mission in the Canadian Far North, charges he disputes.

Plaintiffs have been demanding justice for decades. The Franco-Canadian Johannes Rivoire, 92 years, is accused of sexual violence against young Inuit in Canada, while he was a priest there between 1960 and 1993. A delegation crossed the Atlantic on Monday 12 september to support Lyon’s request for the extradition of this man. Here is what we know about this case.

Priest accused of child sexual abuse

Joannes Rivoire is accused of multiple sexual assaults and rapes on Inuit children and adolescents in the Canadian Far North. This member of the community of Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI), a congregation founded in 1816 and counting 3700 members, including was sent on a mission in 1960 and remained there for thirty-three years. Le priest, first accused of sexual assault against three minors, was the subject of a new complaint filed in September 2021 for facts dating back forty-seven years. He denies all the charges.

Arrest warrant and extradition request

Canada issued an arrest warrant in March 2022, followed in August by an extradition request after the latest complaint against the priest. A first arrest warrant had already been issued from 1998 to 2017, but Joannes Rivoire was never worried.

A meeting in Lyon between the priest and an Inuit delegation

After long negotiations, the priest, who now lives in an Ehpad in Lyon, agreed on Wednesday to meet a delegation of Inuit, including a declared victim and two children of Marius Tungilik, at the origin of the first complaint filed in 1993, and now deceased. The delegation was received at the headquarters of the congregation, on the heights of Lyon. Its members asked the priest to go to Canada but he refused, citing « skin problems »reported to After the meeting, Inuit representative Kilikvak Kabloona.

France refuses his extradition

The Inuit delegation stopped in Paris at the Ministry of Justice. But the request for extradition made by Canada came up against the refusal of the Chancellery, which recalled on Tuesday that, « in accordance with its constitutional tradition »France « does not extradite its nationals ».

The Chancellery added, however, that « France stands ready to respond to any request for mutual legal assistance made to it by Canada or, where appropriate, to act within the framework of a denunciation of the facts that may be made to it, subject nevertheless to examining the possible prescription of the facts ».

Relying on an opinion of the Council of State of November 24, 1994 which was requested by the Prime Minister on this question, the lawyer of the Inuit delegation, Nadia Debbache, however assured that it « there is no impediment of a constitutional nature » to refuse the extradition of a Frenchman, and that « this reason is not an admissible legal argument ».

The congregation also targeted by a complaint

A complaint for « criminal concealment » will be filed in Lyon against the Congregation of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, the delegation’s lawyer, Nadia Debbache, announced on Thursday. These missionaries have « provided aid and assistance to a person who was being prosecuted for criminal acts »she said.. Therefore, « all the light must be shed » on the protection he would have benefited from »in his flight » from Canada.

Father Vincent Gruber, provincial of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, assures that his congregation in France was only informed in 2013 of these accusations, which he repeated on Wednesday during the meeting with the delegation. He has repeatedly denounced in the media a « inexcusable dysfunction »also saying he believes the word of the victims.

But, according to the words of the provincial reported by Nadia Debbache, only a report to « the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith » (an authority of the Vatican) would have been made in 2013. She would have given the only instruction to maintain Rivoire « under surveillance »without informing the judicial authorities, « due to age » of the priest.

It was not until 2018, when the priest was living in a retirement home in Strasbourg, that Vincent Gruber took him « reported to the prosecution » local.

The congregation begins dismissal proceedings

The Oblates of Mary Immaculate announced Wednesday in Lyon that they were starting a procedure for the exclusion of Father Johannes Rivoire. « We have started a canonical dismissal procedure (…) because Father Rivoire disobeyed our order to appear in court » Canadian, Father Vincent Gruber told the press.

Complete Article HERE!