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Eric Dejaeger, ex-priest, sentenced to 5 years for Edmonton sex charges

Former Catholic priest Eric Dejaeger was sentenced in Iqaluit today to five years for sex offences against children stemming from the mid-1970s when he was studying in Edmonton.

1970s Alberta victims were 9-year-old boy, 8-year-old boy and 6-year-old girl

Ex-priest Eric Dejaeger leaves an Iqaluit courtroom in 2011. (Chris Windeyer/The Canadian Press)

Former Catholic priest Eric Dejaeger was sentenced in Iqaluit today to five years in prison for sex offences against children stemming from the mid-1970s when he was studying in Edmonton.

Dejaeger had pleaded guilty in September to two counts of gross indecency, one count of indecent assault on a female, and one count of indecent assault on a male. The crimes were committed when the former priest was studying at the Newman Theological College in Edmonton. 

He had previously applied to have the charges heard in a Nunavut courtroom rather than in Alberta.

The victims were a nine-year-old aboriginal boy from Grande Cache, Alta., and an eight-year-old boy and a six-year-old girl from Edmonton who were brother and sister.

Dejaeger told the girl that what he was doing to her was a secret between them and God, and if she told anyone she'd go to hell.

In her decision, Justice Susan Cooper noted how the victims, now adults, all have substance abuse problems. She added that it remains to be seen what effect Dejaeger's crimes will have on his victims' children.

In February, Dejaeger was sentenced to 19 years in prison for sexually abusing children in Igloolik, Nunavut, more than 30 years ago. He was convicted of 32 sex crimes ranging from indecent assault to bestiality, dating back to his time as a priest in the community.

Today Cooper sentenced 69-year old Dejaeger to five years in prison for each of the Alberta charges, to be served concurrently, and also concurrent with the sentence for his Igloolik charges. That means he won't serve any additional time.

He has filed an appeal where he'll represent himself. It is unclear which charges he is appealing.

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