01/20/2014 08:42 EST | Updated 03/22/2014 05:59 EDT

Eric Dejaeger was defrocked in 2011, Oblates confirm

Eric Dejaeger, the former Roman Catholic priest facing dozens of charges for the sexual abuse of children in Nunavut decades ago, is no longer a priest.

"The Holy See in Rome decided to remove his priest status because he is accused of sexual abuse against children,” said Georges Vervust, the provincial superior of the Oblates in Belgium, in French.

Vervust confirmed that Dejaeger was defrocked in 2011. However, he remains a member of the congregation.

Vervust says the Oblates are devastated about the abuse and feel for the victims.

The trial of Dejaeger, 66, got underway in Iqaluit in November with a judge, but no jury. 

The trial resumes today, with the defence set to begin its case this week.

So far, 41 people have testified, mostly about alleged sex acts involving young girls, boys and even dogs.

All of the charges relate to allegations during Dejaeger’s time as a priest in Igloolik three decades ago.

Dejaeger has already pleaded guilty to eight charges.