Belgium extradites sex-abuse priest wanted in Canada

19th January 2011, Comments 0 comments

A convicted Belgian-born priest who faces complaints of sexual abuse in Canada was expelled Wednesday, sent back to Montreal when police discovered he had taken Canadian nationality and had lived illegally in Belgium for years.

Eric Dejaeger, 63, a Flemish priest who worked as a missionary with Inuits in the 1970s, was escorted by police on a 10:30 am (0930 GMT) flight from Brussels airport, and was to be handed over to Canadian authorities on landing, foreign ministry spokeswoman Katrien Jansseune said.

Dejaeger, who was sentenced in 1990 to five years behind bars for the rape of eight children before being released after 18 months, had returned to live in Belgium after nine new sets of victim allegations came forward in 1995.

He was living in Blanden, in northern Flanders, and escaped extradition following a 2001 Interpol arrest warrant because he retained Belgian nationality at the time.

With Belgium enduring a major church child sex scandal since April last year, Dejaeger gave himself up to police in September.

After Belgium contacted Canada for more information, the authorities here discovered he had opted for Canadian nationality, without informing local officials, and that his passport expired in 1997.

© 2011 AFP

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