PARIS (Reuters) – France has received a request from Canada to extradite retired Catholic priest Johannes Rivoire so he can face a charge of sexual abuse while working in northern Canada, a source said. French diplomatic source.
Indigenous peoples in northern Canada, the Inuit, plan to lobby Pope Francis during his visit on Friday to help bring Rivoire back to Canada.
“An extradition request concerning Mr. Johannes Rivoire has been forwarded to France by the Canadian judicial authorities,” the diplomatic source told Reuters. “This request is currently being processed by the Department of Justice, which has requested additional information from Canadian authorities.”
It was unclear what information France is seeking or when Canada made the request.
The Department of Justice Canada could not immediately be reached for comment. He previously declined to say whether he had asked France to extradite Rivoire, saying such requests were confidential.
The extradition treaty between Canada and France stipulates that no country is required to extradite its own nationals.
Rivoire, 93, is accused of sexual assault related to his work in northern parishes for the Catholic congregation of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate. The charge against Rivoire, who lives in Lyon, France, was brought by Canadian police in February.
A woman alleged that Rivoire sexually assaulted her between 1974 and 1979 when she was a young girl. Neither the accusation nor any allegation against Rivoire has been proven in court.
Inuit have long alleged that Rivoire sexually abused children during his work in northern Canada from the 1960s to 1993. Rivoire did not respond to a Reuters request for comment.
During his visit to Canada, Pope Francis intends to apologize for the mistreatment of indigenous children in government schools largely run by the Catholic Church.
Reporting by Mathieu Rosemain in Paris and Steve Scherer in Ottawa; written by Rod Nickel in Winnipeg; edited by Mark Heinrich