Raymond Lahey was originally detained at the airport on September 15, 2009 in Ottawa, Ontario. During routine questioning at the border, Lahey became nervous when agents questioned him about having a laptop. Upon further inspection, agents at the border found suspicious materials on his laptop and seized it, but allowed Lahey to leave. Lahey quickly resigned as the Bishop and was formally arrested and charged on September 30, 2009.
Lahey’s laptop was found to contain nearly 600 pornographic images and nearly 60 videos, most of the abuse of young boys. Lahey’s trial was to start today in Ottawa and was expected to last three days, but instead the proceedings ended shortly after the guilty plea. Lahey also requested to have his bail revoked and go immediately to prison starting today.
Both the Vatican and the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops issued statements after the guilty plea condemning Lahey’s actions, with the Vatican saying, “The Catholic Church condemns sexual exploitation of all kinds, in particular when minors are targeted.” The church also stated they were considering further action against Lahey.
Ironically, just prior to his arrest, Lahey had announced a financial settlement to a class-action lawsuit filed by victims of sexual abuse against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Antigonish. At that time he also offered an apology, stating he wanted to “formally apologize to every victim and to their families for the sexual abuse that was inflicted upon those young people who were entitled instead to the trust and protection of priests of the church. I want them to know how terribly sorry we are, how wrong this abuse was, and how we are now trying to right these past wrongs.”
Unfortunately, Lahey failed to right his own personal wrongs. He now faces a minimum of one year in jail, however, prosecutors may seek more time. He also is facing a civil suit: Lahey was once at the notorious Mount Cashel Orphanage where a man claims Lahey abused him in 1989.
However, a jail sentence isn’t enough. Lahey should be doing his utmost to assist investigators in locating the manufacturers and victims of the pornography he downloaded; it seems to be the least he can do for those whose suffering he exploited.
Photo credit: quinn.anya on flickr