Jesuits continue to investigate alleged sexual abuse in Quebec Mohawk community

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The Jesuits of Canada say they will continue to probe allegations of sexual abuse linked to a priest who once worked in the Mohawk community of Kahnawake outside Montreal.

The decision follows Kahnawake’s vote on the weekend in favour of exhuming the remains of Rev. Leon Lajoie, who was assigned to the St. Francis Xavier Mission Church in the community from 1961 to 1996.

Members of the community came forward last summer with sexual abuse allegations against Lajoie, who died in 1999, demanding that his remains be moved from the territory in order to start a healing process.

The Jesuits said in a statement Sunday they respect the decision, adding that their next step will be consultations with the community over the transfer of Lajoie’s remains to a Jesuit cemetery in St-Jérôme, Que.

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They also said that while an independent investigation they ordered into the alleged abuse failed to turn up evidence of abuse, the report didn’t “clear all allegations” against Lajoie.

The Jesuits said two of the complaints investigated were not well-founded and that one, while credible, might have involved mistaken identity.

They said the scope of the ongoing investigation will have to be determined by the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake, the community and the parishioners of St. Francis Xavier Mission Church.

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