The pedophile priest, 67, was sentenced Wednesday before the Nunavut Court of Justice to 19 years in prison for pedophilia and bestiality. The victims include 12 boys and 10 girls. The canine victim was sexually abused in front of two children.
Dejaeger, while acting as a missionary, coerced the children into sexual acts and then raped or molested them by threatening them with eternal damnation and separation from their families if they told anyone of his atrocities against them.
The victims, who were children at the time of the abuse, are now in their 40s, 50s and 60s. They and their families filled the Nunavut Court of Justice's largest courtroom this morning.
The sentencing hearing gives them an opportunity to voice what emotional, physical and financial impact the crimes have had on their lives.
Many victims cited ongoing anger issues and depression. One said she did not finish school and attempted suicide because of the sexual abuse she suffered as a girl. Another said he wants the Vatican held responsible. One asked that Dejaeger be put away for a long time, saying he never received or wanted financial compensation, just for it all to be over.
Some cried as they spoke of recurring nightmares and memories they can't shake. Several say they turned to alcohol and drugs to cope with the pain.
Others said because they trusted the man they knew as Father Eric, it has affected their relationship with God and people in authority.
A few of the victims said they struggle with intimacy and trust.