8 Nov 2010

Witnesses say they reported Catholic Bishop recently charged with child porn to police 20 years ago

CBC News - Canada October 2, 2009

Police review 1980s allegations against bishop

Police in Newfoundland and Labrador say they are looking into allegations that Bishop Raymond Lahey possessed child pornography more than 20 years ago.

The investigation comes following comments by some men — who were abused by Christian Brothers in St. John's Mount Cashel orphanage decades ago — who say they told police they saw child pornography in the home of Lahey in the 1980s.

"I think the [Royal Newfoundland Constabulary] dropped the ball on it big time," Billy Earle, of St. John's, told CBC News Thursday. "Senior officers on the job right now dropped the ball on this big time."

Lahey is now facing charges of possessing and importing child pornography. He turned himself in to Ottawa police Thursday and was released on $9,000 bail.

Const. Paul Davis of the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary says investigators became aware of Earle's allegations on Thursday and immediately began reviewing them to determine if they're accurate.

In a statement, Davis says police are reviewing audio and video records of interviews with "victims and offenders" from their investigation of sex abuse allegations at the Mount Cashel orphanage, including those of Billy and Shane Earle.

Davis said that, so far, police have not found any evidence to support the allegations made by Billy Earle on behalf of his brother.

Twenty years ago, Earle and his brother Shane Earle testified at Newfoundland and Labrador's Hughes inquiry into the Mount Cashel orphanage, where they suffered abuse as children.

Earle and his brother hope the current police investigation of Lahey will dig into what happened in St. John's when they were boys. Possession of child pornography only became a crime in the 1990s.

Shane Earle says he told police back then that Lahey befriended him when Lahey was a priest in Mount Pearl, but the friendship ended when Earle and another boy found pornographic videos and photos in Lahey's home.

Billy and Shane Earle said the news that Lahey is facing child pornography charges now has turned their minds back to that horrible time and that they've been talking and reliving their experiences with Lahey.

In an email sent to his brother Billy, Shane Earle says he told police 20 years ago the pornography he saw at Lahey's home was child pornography.

"During the investigation in 1989 I did reveal to police that during a visit to Father Raymond Lahey's house in Mount Pearl, I found catalogues of child pornography addressed to Ray Lahey. The pictures were of teen boys sexually aroused," wrote Shane Earle, in an email that Billy Earle showed to CBC News.

Shane Earle's allegations to a St. John's newspaper in the 1980s launched the investigation into what happened at Mount Cashel.

Investigations back then established that the Earle brothers were abused. Both were given financial compensation.

Lahey's next court date is Nov. 4 in Ottawa

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BLOG: by Leon J. Podles DIALOGUE: A Discussion on Faith and Culture

October 2, 2009

Lahey Testified Against Child Abuse Victim

The Christian Brothers of Ireland ran the Mount Cashel Orphanage in Newfoundland. Some of the brothers physically and sexually abused children. The boys complained to police and social services, and both authorities covered up as much as they could for the Church. On a radio call-in talk how, Shane Earle broke the story of the abuse.

The Royal Commission discovered what the Brothers had done to the boys: “forced mutual fellatio, buggery, forced mutual masturbation, fondling of the students’ genital, ‘inappropriate’ kissing, and insertion of fingers into rectum.” (Sacrilege, p. 73)

Some of the abuse was so horrendous it could not be covered up, and in November 1982 Brother David Burton was tried for sexual abuse of a victim, W.N. Burton admitted having sex with this boy at least fifty times.

The defense then called the first of two character witnesses for Brother Burton – Raymond Lahey, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of St. John’s. The future Roman Catholic bishop praised Brother Burton as an indefatigable worker in the cause of children entrusted to him, a man who “had a tremendous talent for handling children who were tremendously disadvantaged.” The Vicar General was less enthusiastic about Burton’s victim, W.N.

“I think anyone who even visited there [Mount Cashel] for a short time would take note of him. He was a child who constant demanded attention. He constantly demanded attention of someone and in particular of the accused. He would go to any lengths to gain attention. He was very aggressive in that…. He would demand attention by even interrupting conversation, shouting, pulling at people’s arms or punching them in the arm. I even saw him bounce a ball against a wall consistently to gain attention….”

Lahey didn’t come right out and say that W.N. had instigated the relationship with Brother Burton, but the implication of his testimony is clear; the fifteen-year-old was a problem child who relentlessly pursued the accused to satisfy his insatiable craving for affection – however that might be defined. When asked by counsel for the defence if he had noticed any change in W.N. over the past year, Lahey testified that he had. “I think that he matured over that year, very definitely, I think you could see a [visible] progress. He gained, I think, a self-esteem and self-confidence which he didn’t seem to have at the beginning of my period of visiting there. He gained a certain amount of academic confidence too. He was a very slow learner academically, but he showed a very marked improvement in that respect.”

Sexual abuse apparently agreed with W.N. The year in which the Vicar General noted such an improvement in the young boy was the same period of time in which he was being sexually molested by Brother Burton.

The pattern of the Vicar General’s testimony – eulogizing Brother Burton and casting W.N. in a bad light – was repeated in the evidence given by the next defence witness, Brother Henry Bucher.

(from Unholy Orders: Tragedy at Mount Cashel (Viking, 1990) by Michael Harris, pp. 237-238)

Lahey and Burton are spouting classic pederastic propaganda: that the adolescent boy wants sex, that his sexual relationship with a mature man helps the boy mature sexually and emotionally, that pederasty is an authentic form of love and is highly educational.

Not everyone who uses child pornography goes on to have sex with children,, but all child abusers began with child pornography. Whether Lahey confined his sexual interests to pornography is not know, but his testimony in the Burton case shows what he thought of man-boy love.

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