8 Nov 2010

Catholic family counselling group offering free services to parishioners in wake of Bishop's child pornography charges

CBC News - Nova Scotia, Canada October 17, 2009

Lahey charges prompt counselling for N.S. Catholics

A family counselling organization founded by the Roman Catholic Church is offering free services to parishioners of the Antigonish diocese in the wake of child pornography charges against their retired bishop.

Former bishop Raymond Lahey, who helped negotiate a landmark deal for children who were sexually abused by priests, was charged with importing and possessing child pornography on Sept. 25 after being detained by border officials 10 days earlier at the Ottawa International Airport.

Earlier this week, police in Nova Scotia executed search warrants at Lahey's homes and office, looking for pornographic images on computers he used.

On Saturday, Family Service of Eastern Nova Scotia had an ad in Halifax's Chronicle Herald newspaper offering free counselling to individuals or entire parish communities struggling to cope with what it called "past or recent victimization issues."

According to the ad, the organization has been hired by the Antigonish diocese to provide the service.

The non-profit group was founded in 1969, but traces its roots back to the 1930s, during the Great Depression, when churches set up counselling and assistance programs for people.

Lahey is staying at a priest's residence run by the archdiocese of Ottawa until his next court appearance there on Nov. 4.

RCMP and the provincial child internet exploitation unit executed a search warrant at Lahey's residence in Sydney, N.S., on Wednesday. One computer was seized.

Investigators also executed search warrants at Lahey's former home and office in Antigonish on Tuesday. Two computers and some external media devices were seized.

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