Court documents show 2014 guilty plea for Inuk actor and Order of Canada recipient Johnny Issaluk

Court records obtained by APTN News show that Nunavut actor and Order of Canada recipient Johnny Issaluk received a 15 month probation sentence in 2014 for uttering threats against a woman.

Issaluk’s history was brought out into the open last week when Nunavut filmmaker Alethea Arnaquq-Baril took to social media to protest against Issaluk receiving the Order of Canada and his nomination for an Indspire award.

“I happened to see him at a party at a friend’s house. While there, he grabbed/fondled my ass,” wrote Arnaquq-Baril in a post on Facebook and Twitter. “There was zero flirtation beforehand, I was completely shocked by what he did. It was unexpected and uninvited.

“It was unwanted touching. I didn’t know what to call it back then, and now I know what to call it – it’s sexual assault.”

In the same post, Arnaquq-Baril said she believes there may be more cases, several degrees worse than her own experience.

“Over the years, I’ve heard many stories. Stories similar to mine, and also much, much worse. Many of them were third or fourth hand rumours. But several of them I heard directly from the women who experienced them. They told me they suffered violent physical and sexual assaults from him,” she wrote.

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Court records show one instance of Issaluk facing criminal consequences for his actions against women.

On Dec. 18, 2013, Issaluk was arrested and charged with uttering a death threat or threatening serious harm.

He was released on Dec. 19 2013, and was ordered by the court to not have contact with the victim, was prohibited from possessing firearms and was banned from consuming alcohol. He also agreed to return to court.

On Mar. 21 2014, Issaluk entered a guilty plea to the charge, and was convicted by summary conviction.

He was placed on probation for 15 months on Mar. 28, 2014 and ordered to undertake any counselling his probation officer ordered, and was prohibited from possession or consumption of any intoxicating substance.

The firearm’s prohibition and the no contact order were not a part of the probation.

APTN has tried many times over the past few days to contact Issaluk. No response has been received.

Following the online attention, late last week Issaluk issued an apology.

In a written statement he stated, ““There are no words to express my grief and regret for the pain I have caused. To those I have harmed by my actions: I am truly, truly sorry. It was never my intention to hurt anybody, but I know I did.”

Indspire withdrew their award nomination and are reviewing their nomination process.

In a written statement, the Governor-General’s office told APTN, “The Office of the Secretary to the Governor-General does not comment on allegations made against recipients of Canadian honours.”

Video Journalist / Iqaluit

Kent has been APTN’s Nunavut correspondent since 2007. In that time he has closely covered Inuit issues, including devolution and the controversial Nutrition North food subsidy. He has also worked for CKIQ-FM in Iqaluit and as a reporter for Nunavut News North.