Eric Dejaeger appeared in the Nunavut Court of Justice in Iqaluit Monday. He faces 76 charges, most of which stem from his time as a Catholic priest in Igloolik between 1978 and 1982.
The case involves 41 complainants and dozens of witnesses. His judge-only trial is set for Oct. 28, 2013, and is expected to last 10 weeks.
Dejaeger said only two words to Justice Robert Kilpatrick in court: "thank you".
Defense lawyer Malcolm Kempt said in court it was the intention of his client to plead not guilty from the outset.
Barry Nordin, the chief federal prosecutor for Nunavut, said it will be a challenging case for both the Crown and the defense.
"It involves a bit of a logistical feat. It requires travelling to the various communities where the complainants are, or alternatively have the complainants come here."
Nordin said Doug Curliss, senior general counsel from Saskatoon, will handle the case for the Crown.