The mayor of Puvimituq (Inuit for “Povung-nituk”) was stunned when a man accused last year of sexually assaulting six children was given a two-month sentence.

In an interview with The Nation, Mayor Noah-Adamie Qumaaluk said the sentence was the just the most recent example of how the justice system has failed this Inuit community. The man wasn’t even sent to jail, Qumaaluk said; he was sent to a correctional facility in Amos. “I was hurt, dismayed, frustrated. It was almost undescribable. Any criminality in our community we feel it isn’t properly dealt with by the judge.”

The offender was one of three men charged in response to allegations of sexual assault made by 116 children in

Puvimituq last year. The man was almost set free because the six children, aged five to seven, would not testify before strangers. Only after the mayor himself testified in court was the man sent to a correctional facility.

Qumaaluk said the community is served by a flying judge who spends a few hours in Puvimituq every three months. The judge has a backlog of 200 cases that he hasn’t had time to deal with. Qumaaluk also said prisoners receive little or no rehabilitation while in detention and proposed setting up a detention centre in Inuit territory. “Whenever these guys come back they start all over again.”