5 May 2011

Canadian Bishop who oversaw historic abuse settlement pleads guilty to importing child porn, asks judge to jail him

Canada.com    -   May 4, 2011

Former Catholic bishop requests jail in child porn case


OTTAWA — In an extraordinary move, a former Catholic bishop who admitted to importing graphic images and videos of child sexual abuse asked a judge to jail him Wednesday, voluntarily beginning a sentence that will last at least a year.

Raymond Lahey's detention followed an admission by the man who once oversaw a historic Nova Scotia child sex-abuse settlement that he had tried to bring 588 child pornography images along with 60 videos and numerous stories featuring themes of humiliation, degradation, torture and slavery of young boys into the country following a trip abroad in September 2009.

Prosecutors said Lahey, 70, was travelling alone when he landed at the Ottawa airport on Sept. 15, 2009, on a flight from London, England. His passport showed he had visited Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Germany since 2005.

Lahey was calm, friendly and forthcoming when he approached a customs agent, but his demeanour soon changed when she repeatedly asked if he had any electronic devices, including a laptop computer, according to an agreed statement of facts.

"He was somewhat nervous, quiet, hesitant and avoided eye contact," said Crown prosecutor David Elhadad.

Lahey was sent for a secondary inspection, where another customs agent discovered three images of naked young males, including some engaged in sexual acts. He was also carrying a small blue bag containing "personal sex toys," according to Elhadad.

An Ottawa police investigator then found about a dozen more images of pre-pubescent young males, including one as young as eight. Some were engaged in sex acts with adults.

At the time of his initial arrest, Lahey denied having an interest in child pornography. However, he admitted he had an attraction to young males, particularly around the age of 20 or 21, but also those in their 30s and 40s.

Lahey's computer was seized and he was allowed to leave. He stepped down from his job as bishop in Antigonish, N.S., the next day. A Canada-wide warrant for his arrest was issued a month later.

Ottawa police Det. Andrew Thompson testified that a forensic examination of Lahey's laptop included a review of his Internet searches for terms used by those interested in child pornography. Lahey searched for "Lolita" once, but searched the word "twink," slang for a young-looking gay male, 1,182 times, Thompson testified.

Thompson testified that Lahey's browsing history revealed visits to three websites featuring images that were "close to child pornography," showing boys in their early teens.

The facts were read after a stone-faced Lahey, his arms crossed in front of him, entered his plea in a clear voice.

Lahey could have remained free on bail, but his lawyer Michael Edelson said his client felt deep and profound remorse and wanted to start serving his sentence immediately.

Lahey is facing a mandatory minimum sentence of a year in jail, although Crown prosecutors indicated they might seek a longer term. It was not clear whether Lahey might try to seek extra credit for the time spent in jail prior to his actual sentencing, although the Crown said they expected the time would be considered on a one-for-one basis.

Prosecutors asked Ontario Court Justice Kent Kirkland to order a pre-sentence report for Lahey, who was described by assistant Crown attorney Mihael Cole as a "troubled man."

The judge declined, however, after Edelson argued that prosecutors had intimate details about Lahey's background from an extensive psychiatric and sexual-behaviour assessment conducted by Dr. John Bradford from the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. Edelson also submitted character references from 11 people who knew Lahey well.

"We have nothing to hide," Edelson said.

Elhadad said the Crown intends to challenge portions of Bradford's report and wants to know what kind of risk Lahey might pose once he is released.

Prosecutors also argued that a probation officer could talk to those supervising Lahey.

"A bishop has one supervisor: the Pope," Edelson said. "The Pope is not going to be taking a call from the probation supervisor."

Following Lahey's plea, the Vatican pledged it would take action against Lahey.

The Vatican said it was considering "appropriate disciplinary or penal" action against Lahey — who retains the rank of a bishop emeritus in the Church — and condemned child sexual exploitation of all kinds.

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 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.

A date for the sentencing hearing is expected to be set May 26.

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Canada.com  -  May 4, 2011

Vatican pledges action against Canadian ex-bishop

by AFP

VATICAN CITY - The Vatican said Wednesday it would take action against a Canadian ex-bishop who confessed to child pornography charges and who is being prosecuted for sexual abuse.

"The Catholic Church condemns sexual exploitation of all kind, in particular when minors are targeted," said a statement released by the Vatican's press service.

It said it was considering "appropriate disciplinary or penal" action against Raymond Lahey, 70, who resigned in September 2009 as bishop of the diocese of Antigonish, Nova Scotia.

He was charged with possessing and importing child pornography following an investigation after a search at the Ottawa airport of his laptop computer uncovered graphic photographs of males who authorities suspected could be as young as eight years old. Sentencing will be announced later.

Lahey also faces accusations in a civil suit of sexually abusing an orphanage resident in the early 1980s.

The Mount Cashel Orphanage in St. John's, Newfoundland was closed in 1990 after it was revealed that staff had systematically abused some 300 residents over several decades.

Pope Benedict XVI has met with victims of child-molesting priests three times since 2008, in Australia, the United States and most recently in Malta last year, when he expressed his "shame and sorrow" over the scourge.

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Grace Christian Fellowship pastor, formerly Baptist pastor, charged with child porn and sexual torture

Former Mormon Bishop jailed for child porn

St Stanislaus' College "a pedophile paradise"

Celibate Canadian Bishops lecture Catholics on sexuality, warn young people against sex outside marriage and masturbation

Catholic Church found liable for abuse of Newfoundland altar boys

Christian Brothers school built by sex abused child slaves depicted in film on tragedy of UK's child migration scheme

Fresh allegations of historical sex crimes prompts new inquiry into Christian Brothers order in U.K.

Leader of Christian Brothers based in Rome refuses to talk about his role enabling pedophile priest to continue abuse

Christian Brothers cry crocodile tears, say sorry for child abuse

Irish clergy abuse survivors criticize misleading compensation statement by Christian Brothers

North Dakota sex abuse lawsuit is the tenth one against Christian Brother school teacher who has never been charged with a crime

Catholic orders plead poor in abuse compensation cases, but hold billions in sheltered assets

Ontario diocese settles with 10 victims of pedophile priest who sexually assaulted them in the confessional booth

Jesuit leaders concealed 40 years of warnings about pedophile priest who became spiritual adviser to Mother Teresa


  1. Disgraced Bishop Lahey apologizes for his Internet porn addiction

    By Andrew Seymour, The Ottawa Citizen December 21, 2011

    OTTAWA — Disgraced Catholic bishop Raymond Lahey apologized in court Tuesday for possessing child pornography, telling a judge he had an “indiscriminate” addiction to online pornography but didn’t seek help because of his high-ranking position in the church.

    A contrite Lahey said he secretly wanted to be found out, so it was a “blessing in disguise” when customs agents stopped him at the Ottawa airport and discovered illicit images which included young boys and teens engaged in sex acts including bondage and torture. A Crown prosecutor said Tuesday some of the 588 images that were later discovered on Lahey’s laptop computer included graphic images of nude boys wearing rosary beads and crucifixes.

    Police also located 63 child pornography videos and several stories with themes of slavery.

    Lahey pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography for the purpose of importation in May.

    “I know I’ve done wrong, not only something illegal, but something that goes against the moral principles I believe in,” said Lahey, who stood shackled in front of the prisoner’s box as he spoke.

    “During the past 26 months, I’ve had a chance to reflect on what I have done. I can say I have come to recognize that I became addicted to Internet pornography on a very indiscriminate basis. This was an addiction powerful enough that despite my own distaste for it and my own internal convulsions I could not break it,” he said.

    Lahey said he has since sought help from forensic psychiatrist Dr. John Bradford and others, and believes he has tried to deal with it now.

    He also wanted to warn others like himself to seek help.

    “I will take this opportunity to speak out to others who may find themselves in a similar position to my own and urge them to look at what they are doing, cease it and to seize the help that they need,” he said.

    “Not just because this is something illegal, but because ultimately it is unhealthy, because it destroys relationships, and above all, where it involves pictures and stories of children, because it causes genuine harm to them,” said Lahey.

    Lahey concluded by apologizing to members of the church, his friends, family and anyone else he may have hurt or disappointed.

    “I can only say I am truly sorry for what I have done and I hope that time can heal some of the wounds that my actions have caused,” he said.


    Earlier in the day, prosecutor David Elhadad laid out in lurid detail some of what was depicted in the images, videos and stories seized by police. Elhadad said Catholic imagery was intertwined with “disgusting” sado-masochistic scenes, including one image of a male in “monk’s garb” using a paddle to spank a young boy.

    Elhadad argued Lahey’s position in the Catholic Church placed him in a position of trust.

    “He is and was an individual in a position of trust over many years hiding his shameful sexual depravity and predilection in taking joy in the torture and rape of children,” said Elhadad.

    But Lahey’s defence lawyer, Michael Edelson, said that couldn’t be considered an aggravating factor since Lahey would need to be in a position of trust toward the victims.

    Edelson argued Monday that Lahey will wear a “scarlet letter” for the rest of his life as a result of what he had done. Elhadad argued Tuesday there are others who bear a similar fate, but for entirely different reasons.

    “Mr. Lahey may have to bear the scarlet letter of child pornography on his chest, but the victims of child pornography have endured unspeakable acts and they too must bear a permanent mark, marks that are invisible to the naked eye but are of psychological harm, knowing that their photographed and videotaped sexual encounters are out there for eternity,” said Elhadad. “They are the true victims.”


  2. Bishop Lahey gets time served for child porn

    CBC News January 4, 2012

    Raymond Lahey, the disgraced Roman Catholic bishop who admitted he was addicted to looking at child pornography, will be released Wednesday.

    He was sentenced Wednesday to 15 months in prison and two years probation but will receive a two-for-one credit for time served. Lahey pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography for the purposes of importation to Canada.

    Lahey, 71, a Newfoundlander and former head of the Diocese of Antigonish in Nova Scotia, was caught in 2009 at Ottawa's airport after authorities checked his personal computer and found a large cache of child pornography.

    Terms of Lahey's probation include a computer search at any time at work or home, having to advise his probation officer if he leaves Canada for more than 48 hours and the forfeiting of electronic devices seized at the airport when he was stopped.

    After the hearing adjourned, Lahey's lawyer Michael Edelson said the disgraced Catholic bishop's career with the church is over. Lahey contacted the Pope about leaving the Catholic archdiocese about a year ago but did not hear a response, Edelson said.

    The Crown's case involved 588 photos and 63 videos, with the Crown pointing out that some involved adolescent boys engaged in sex acts while wearing a Crucifix and rosary beads.

    Some of the images shown to the judge depicted scenes of bondage, featuring young men who were bound and on all fours.

    At a sentencing hearing in December, Lahey apologized for his actions, describing himself as a man who became addicted to internet-based porn "on an indiscriminate basis."

    Lahey, whose career included serving as a bishop in western Newfoundland before moving to Nova Scotia, said he wanted others to learn from his mistakes.


  3. Nova Scotia churches balk at paying for the sins of the fathers

    Globe and Mail January 06, 2012


    The Roman Catholic Diocese of Antigonish is selling 250 properties and liquidating its assets to pay a $15-million settlement for sexual abuse involving clergy.

    Churchgoers were dealt another blow this week with the sentencing of Rev. Raymond Lahey – the bishop who brokered the multimillion-dollar deal.

    Father Lahey, who was charged with possession of child pornography a month after negotiating the sex-abuse settlement, was sentenced to 15 months in custody and released on probation after getting double credit for eight months already served.

    “It was very hard, and then to come through all these years and our parishes now have had to pay for the claims. There isn’t resentment toward paying [the victims], it’s just that it shouldn’t be put upon the people,” said Phyllis MacDonald, a member of St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church in Port Hood.

    “Now we have to raise money to keep above ground, to keep our parishes going, to pay for heat in the church.”

    Ms. MacDonald said the settlement, which has forced cash-strapped parishes to give nearly all their reserves to the diocese, should be paid by the top level of the church hierarchy: the Vatican.

    It’s a thought shared by Marie Louise Samson, who was once a Catholic nun and an active member of her parish in Arichat, on Isle Madame, south of Cape Breton. The sex-abuse scandal prompted her to stop donating to the church, and later, attending altogether.

    Ms. Samson said parishes’ modest reserves and the sale of their properties – some of them willed to churches by parishioners – are the wrong sources of money.

    “They came like thieves in the night to take our money and they took it away without even blinking an eye,” Ms. Samson said. “It’s a shame. It’s our parents that worked to place [the churches] there and our grandparents, and they don’t care. They just have to sell them.”

    But the church said there is no alternative source.

    “We have no indication that the Vatican sees or is able to do something,” said Rev. Paul Abbass, a spokesman for the Diocese of Antigonish based in New Glasgow, on the eastern mainland.

    “We just had to keep saying to people, ‘We’re not just taking your money. It’s not a money grab. It really is to right a wrong.’”

    Charles MacDonald, a theology scholar from Sydney, N.S., who studied for his doctorate under Joseph Ratzinger, who is now the Pope, said the fact that Father Lahey brokered the settlement, more than anything else, has been the cause of unease among parishioners.

    “How much of it is a reaction to the settlement and how much of it is a reaction to the sense of betrayal associated with the former bishop?” he said.

    Daniel Doucet, a retired priest who lives in Sydney, questions whether church leaders are the right people to be handling finances.

    “It’s not so much about where the money’s coming from, but it’s about the clericalism of the church,” Mr. Doucet said. He added that laypeople with business expertise should be hired to handle the enormous task of brokering real-estate deals to pay off the settlement.

    “It’s not clear to me that [the bishop and top priests are] following the best business practices and that they’re competent in that area,” he said.


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  4. Archbishop writes parishioners about Lahey case

    CBC January 8, 2012

    Archbishop Martin Currie has issued a message to Newfoundland and Labrador parishioners about the Raymond Lahey child pornography case, expressing "sadness, disappointment and anger" and urging the Catholic community to learn from the situation and move forward.

    "Let us draw whatever good we can from this event, and re-commit ourselves to building a better church, society and world, a world in which people are valued and treated with respect, where no child suffers, and where all can live in peace and joy," Currie said in a prepared statement.

    "This archdiocese is committed to establishing safe and supportive communities for our young people and vulnerable adults. Through our screening process, we continue to take steps to create a secure environment for all members of the church."

    Sunday services
    Currie's statement was made available to Roman Catholic parishes across the province, so it could be delivered during Sunday services.

    But the archbishop left it to the discretion of individual priests about how — or whether — to do so.

    Last week, Lahey — who served as a bishop in western Newfoundland before moving to Nova Scotia — was sentenced to 15 months in prison on child pornography charges.

    He walked free after receiving a two-for-one credit for time served.

    In 2009, Lahey was apprehended at Ottawa's airport after authorities checked his personal computer and found a large cache of child pornography.

    'All-too-common obsession'
    Currie expressed his sadness and anger at the Lahey situation.

    "Pornography is an all-too-common obsession and addiction," the archbishop's statement noted. "Let us be clear that we, as Christian people, stand for the protection of all life, for human dignity and fullness of life. We stand against all that harms or degrades human beings."

    The archbishop said that Lahey has requested to be removed from the clerical state, and noted that the church will impose this, or other, penalties.


  5. NOTE: The infamous Mount Cashel orphanage where so much Catholic child abuse occurred and where the priest, Lahey, featured in the articles above molested at least one boy, was operated by the Christian Brothers for the last 40 years before it closed.


    Victims weep as ex-Christian brother found guilty of abuse

    NIALL O'CONNOR – The Independent Ireland FEBRUARY 22, 2013

    Jurors and victims openly wept as a former Christian brother was convicted by majority verdict of seven out of 10 allegations of child sexual abuse at a leading school.

    In Cork Circuit Criminal Court, Edward Bryan (58) faced 10 sexual assault charges relating to allegations made by four men who were young boys in the 1980s.

    His victims sat at the back of the court embracing each other and weeping as the verdicts were returned.

    The verdicts came after a week-long trial and more than 12 hours of deliberation by the jury.

    Bryan was found guilty on seven counts with the charges relating to three of the victims.

    The jury could not reach a verdict on three remaining counts, all of which related to a fourth complainant.

    During the trial, the jury was told that this alleged male victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was serving a jail sentence.


    The allegations, investigated by Garda Eimear Brennan, related to offences in the 1980s at locations in North Monastery CBS, where Bryan was a teacher.

    The four complainants, now adults who cannot be named for legal reasons, gave emotional evidence about their experiences.

    During the trial, the jury heard the incidents took place while Bryan, from Athboy Road, Trim, Co Meath, was coaching them in basketball.

    The offences took place in the brother's office and in the gym area. They involved touching of the genital area and masturbation.

    At one point he told the boys: "It is a good way to work up a sweat."

    On Wednesday, the jury returned after nine hours of deliberation with a guilty verdict on one count.

    This charge dealt with offences committed against a boy in 1987.

    The jury of 11 returned yesterday after 12 hours deliberation with guilty verdicts on six more counts.

    Each was a majority verdict, meaning 10 of the 11 jurors agreed.

    Prosecutor Dermot Sheehan said he would contact the DPP about a retrial on the outstanding counts.

    After the case, one of the victims said: "It is an utter vindication and I would do it all again if I had the opportunity."

    Judge Sean O Donnabhain adjourned sentencing to March 1 to allow for preparation of victim impact statements.


  6. Ex-PM adviser Tom Flanagan sorry for child-porn comments

    Professor and pundit questioned if child-porn viewers should be jailed

    by Katy Anderson, CBC News February 28, 2013

    Tom Flanagan, a former senior adviser to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and former campaign manager for Alberta’s Wildrose party, has apologized for saying he had “grave doubts” about jailing people who view child pornography.

    The comments drew heavy criticism from the PMO's office and the Wildrose, as well as the University of Calgary where Flanagan works as a professor.

    The conservative pundit and political scientist said in a statement that he "absolutely condemn[s] the sexual abuse of children."

    He made the comments at a lecture in Lethbridge, Alta., on Wednesday night about changes to the Indian Act. They were recorded and posted online by someone in attendance.

    “I certainly have no sympathy for child molesters, but I do have some grave doubts about putting people in jail because of their taste in pictures,” said Flanagan.

    “It’s a real issue of personal liberty and to what extent we put people in jail for doing something in which they do not harm another person.”

    Flanagan goes on to say that he is not part of the Conservative government, and that he has some doubts about the some of the party’s justice initiatives.

    The Prime Minister’s Office responded to the comments on Twitter.

    “Tom Flanagan’s comments on child pornography are repugnant, ignorant, and appalling,” tweeted director of communications Andrew MacDougall.

    The Wildrose released a statement saying that Flanagan would have no role with the party going forward. “There is no language strong enough to condemn Dr. Flanagan’s comments,” reads the statement.

    “Child pornography is a despicable crime that seriously harms all those involved, including the viewer. The viewing of child pornography first requires the production of child pornography, which causes untold suffering and abuse towards children."

    Flanagan was a member of the Power & Politics' Power Panel. The CBC announced Thursday he would no longer be appearing on the program. The U of C also released a statement Thursday distancing themselves from Flanagan and the comments.

    “In the university’s view, child pornography is not a victimless crime. All aspects of this horrific crime involve the exploitation of children. Viewing pictures serves to create more demand for these terrible images, which leads to further exploitation of defenseless children.”

    The university noted that the professor has been on a “research and scholarship leave” since January.

    Flanagan was scheduled to speak at a Manning Centre conference next week but has since been dropped. The Calgary-based centre bills itself as an organization "building Canada's conservative movement."

    Tom Flanagan Statement:

    I absolutely condemn the sexual abuse of children, including the use of children to produce pornography. These are crimes and should be punished under the law.

    Last night, in an academic setting, I raised a theoretical question about how far criminalization should extend toward the consumption of pornography. My words were badly chosen, and in the resulting uproar I was not able to express my abhorrence of child pornography and the sexual abuse of children. I apologize unreservedly to all who were offended by my statement, and most especially to victims of sexual abuse and their families.