Eric Dejaeger

Eric Dejaeger is escorted outside the Iqaluit courthouse in 2011. Under cross examination Wednesday, the former Oblate priest denied having listened to confessions while working in Igloolik, Nunvaut. (CBC)

Former Catholic priest Eric Dejaeger was back on the stand this morning facing cross examination in Iqaluit.

The 66-year-old is facing dozens of charges related to alleged sexual abuse of children in Igloolik, Nunavut three decades ago. 

Some of the complainants have told the court they were abused by Dejaeger while he heard their confession.

Today, Dejaeger denied having listened to confessions while working in Igloolik at the mission for four years. He says that was the job of the main priest, Father Robert Lechat. 

Dejaeger was the priest in training. He says he conducted mass, performed baptisms, marriages and provided counselling.

Crown prosecutor Doug Curliss asked if he heard confessions over religious holidays like Easter and Christmas. There was one period when Lechat was gone eight months straight. 

Dejaeger said it was not unusual for there to be no confessions. He said he didn't speak Inuktitut, which is one reason why he didn't hear confessions.

Now says he should have learned Inuktitut instead of English. 

Dejaeger told the court his role in the community was to serve the people and that becoming a priest was his calling. The crown will continue the cross examination this afternoon.