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Posted Wednesday, October 21, 2009
A former priest, not in church, apparently asking God for forgiveness, but in jail for alleged child sex abuse in Haiti
By Jorge Barrera
A former Ontario Catholic priest wanted for allegedly sexually abusing Haitian children was arrested in the Dominican Republic on Tuesday on a Canadian warrant, according to authorities in the capital of Santo Domingo.

Joao Jose Correira Duarte, a former Windsor, Ont., priest, is now facing extradition to Canada, where he's expected to face 12 charges in the sexual abuse of Haitian youths, aged 12 to 17, the Immigration Office and National Drug Control Directorate said in a statement sent to Canwest News Service.
joao jose correira duarte
Joao Jose Correira Duarte, the former priest taking out of the circulation for alleged child sex abuse in Haiti.
Duarte was arrested Tuesday in Puerto Plata, in the Dominican Republic, and taken to prison to await the trip back to Canada, the statement said.

Duarte had been living in Haiti, where he worked as an administrator in a mission, said the statement.

He is accused of engaging in sexual relations with a group of young Haitians in Port-au-Prince hotels in exchange for favours, including buying clothes for them and paying for the lodging of some of his victims' families, the statement said.

It took Dominican authorities four weeks to apprehend Duarte after receiving on Sept. 28, in a diplomatic note from Canadian authorities, the arrest warrant dated Aug. 7. The arrest warrant was signed by a Windsor justice of the peace, said the statement, adding Duarte was wanted by the RCMP.

The RCMP said they were liaising between Dominican authorities and the Ontario Provincial Police, which was handling the case.

The OPP could not immediately confirm its involvement.

A spokeswoman for Canadian Foreign Affairs confirmed a Canadian was arrested in Puerto Plata on Tuesday.

"Consular officers at the Canadian mission in Santo Domingo are providing consular assistance and working with local authorities to gather more information," said Dana Cryderman. "Due to the Privacy Act, no further information is available at this time."

Duarte ministered in several congregations throughout the Windsor area, where he initiated an aid program for Haiti called Hearts Together for Haiti. The program focused on the small community of Labadie, which sits on the north coast of Haiti. He moved there in October 2003.

Duarte, however, left the priesthood after allegations of impropriety surfaced in Labadie, say officials from Hearts Together for Haiti.

© 2009 Canwest Publishing Inc. Published Wednesday, October 21, 2009.

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