OTTAWA — Former Catholic bishop Raymond Lahey has pleaded guilty in an Ottawa courtroom to importing child pornography.

Raymond Lahey, 70, was picked up at the Ottawa airport on Sept. 15, 2009 when border security agents said they found three images on his laptop computer of boys engaged in various sexual acts.

Documents supporting a search warrant indicated Lahey was referred for a secondary inspection because he had visited Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Spain and Germany since 2005. Those countries are notorious sources of the illicit material.

The officer also noticed that Lahey was evasive with his answers, avoided eye contact and changed his tone of voice during specific questions, according to the document.

Lahey told the officers the laptop belonged to him and that “he was attracted to males aged 20 to 21,” the document alleged.

A forensic examination of Lahey’s hard drive revealed at least five photos depicting mostly-nude boys between the ages of eight and 12 in various poses and engaged in sexual acts. One of the boys had a dark complexion, the other was blond.

Three months before he was charged, Lahey oversaw a historic apology and $15-million financial settlement for victims of sexual abuse committed by a priest in his diocese in Antigonish, N.S. Lahey is scheduled for a three-day trial.

Earlier court time set aside by Lahey’s lawyer Michael Edelson to argue that Lahey’s Charter rights had been violated was cancelled.

Edelson indicated at the time that if he had any charter arguments, they would be made during the trial.
In addition to the criminal charges, Lahey is also accused in a civil lawsuit of sexual abuse.

In a statement of claim filed in the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador, Todd Boland alleged former Bishop Raymond Lahey fondled him over his clothes, and that the abuse happened on numerous occasions over several years.

The abuse is alleged to have happened in the mid-1980s when Boland was a resident at the infamous Mount Cashel orphanage.

Andrew Seymour
National Post