Canadian police announced Tuesday that they have issued a new arrest warrant for a priest accused of sexually assaulting an Inuit boy in the far north of the country several decades ago before he fled to France.
Johannes Revoir, 93, came into the spotlight again this week when an Inuit delegation in the Vatican asked Pope Francis to personally intervene in the case, which has not been resolved in nearly 30 years.
Revoir, a priest working in the missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, spent three decades in far northern Canada, before returning to France in 1993. He now lives in Lyon.
Canadian police attempted to arrest him in the 1990s on at least three other counts of sexual assault in the Nunavut communities of Arviat, Rankin Inlet and Nogat.
According to Canadian media, the charges were eventually dropped when prosecutors deemed it unlikely that France would extradite him.
He “raised the legacy of sexual abuse in the church and asked the Pope if he would intervene directly” in Revoir’s case, Natan Obed, president of Taberit Kanatami Inuit, said at a news conference on Monday.
A 32-member Inuit and Métis delegation were invited to meet with the Pope about the recent discoveries of more than 1,300 unmarked graves in church-run boarding schools in Canada, attended by Aboriginal children as part of the government’s assimilation policy.
Many children have been physically and sexually abused by principals and teachers, and thousands are believed to have died from disease, malnutrition or neglect.