A former chief of Esgenoôpetitj First Nation has been charged with six sex crimes alleged to have been committed between 1977 and 1996.

Wilbert (Wilbur) Dedam

Wilbert (Wilbur) Dedam, a former chief of Esgenoôpetitj First Nation, pictured here in 2002, is facing six sex-related charges. (CBC)

Wilbur Dedam, 56, appeared in Miramichi provincial court before Judge Geri Mahoney on Thursday afternoon after being arrested by the RCMP on Wednesday.

He did not make any elections or pleas to the charges, which include sexual assault and having sex with a female under the age of 14.

The charges relate to three alleged victims who have come forward.

A publication ban prevents reporting any information that could identify the alleged victims.

Dedam looked deflated as he walked to the prisoner's box. He had many supporters in court and some were crying. 

Dedam was remanded until his next court appearance after the Crown objected to his release.

A bail hearing is scheduled for Monday at 1:30 p.m.

Dedam was ordered not to communicate with any of the alleged victims or their spouses.

The RCMP said in a statement a police investigation began in March and three alleged victims have stepped forward to discuss the alleged crimes.

"The RCMP have not ruled out that there may be other potential victims," said Cst. Jullie Rogers-Marsh.

The investigation is ongoing, she said. Anyone with information about the case is asked to call RCMP or Crime Stoppers.

Esgenoôpetitj First Nation is in northeastern New Brunswick and was formerly known as Burnt Church.

Dedam was chief at Burnt Church when tensions arose over aboriginal fishing rights in 2000.

He is a candidate in the current election taking place at Esgenoôpetitj.