Disgraced Catholic Bishop Lahey Faces Sentencing

CBC News
January 4, 2012

Raymond Lahey, seen walking to court in Ottawa in 2009, has urged others to learn from his experience and stop those who access child pornography. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

A Roman Catholic bishop who admitted he was addicted to looking at child pornography is set to learn his sentence Wednesday in an Ottawa courtroom.

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

Lahey pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography for the purposes of importation to Canada.

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.

The Crown is asking that Lahey be given a sentence between 18 and 22 months, as well as probation and a host of conditions.

The defence is asking for a one-year sentence, or the minimum that can be handed down for the crime, and that Lahey be given a two-for-one credit for time served.

Although federal law changed in 2010, the defence has argued for it because Lahey was charged in 2009.

At a sentencing hearing in December, Lahey apologized for his actions, describing himself as a man who had become 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.

"To others, look at what they are doing — cease it and seek help," Lahey told the court.

"It causes genuine harm to children."

The sentencing hearing is due to start at 10 a.m. ET in Ottawa.


Any original material on these pages is copyright 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.