UPDATED: Raymond Lahey pleads guilty to one child porn charge

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Bishop gives up his right to bail

OTTAWA — A Roman Catholic bishop who was caught with pornographic photos, videos and stories involving boys pleaded guilty today to importing child pornography.

Raymond Lahey, the 70-year-old former head of the diocese in Antigonish, N.S., stunned the courtroom by waiving his bail and asking to begin serving time immediately, even before a formal sentence.  He was taken into custody.

“He’s giving up his right to bail,” defence lawyer Michael Edelson told court. “He wants to be in jail as of today’s date.”

Edelson also told the court his client feels profound remorse for his crime.

Lahey pleaded guilty to a single child pornography charge, “possession for the purposes of importation.” A second charge of simple possession remains, but it is expected to be formally withdrawn as part of Lahey’s plea deal when he is sentenced later.

Edelson said Lahey wanted to start serving time now in order to get credit after sentencing.

The lawyer told the court that Lahey was not guilty of possession of child pornography for the purpose of distribution.

The grey-haired cleric spoke only once during the proceedings, uttering the words “guilty, your honour,” when he was arraigned on the amended charge.

Lahey and his lawyers had to run a gauntlet of cameras to enter the Ottawa courthouse. He cut a solitary figure, crammed on the end of a courtroom bench for almost an hour before proceedings started, while lawyers hammered out the final details of his plea deal.

Later, he sat impassively next to his lawyers as the details of the violent pornographic images that were found in his possession were read out in a crammed courtroom.

Court heard that Lahey had 588 images of child pornography on his laptop and handheld device. He also had videos and text stories of child pornography.

The exhibits were ordered sealed by Justice Jack Kirkland, but an agreed statement of facts read in court categorized the themes of the images that depicted pre-pubescent boys in sex acts. The categories included humiliation, torture and degradation.

The judge and lawyers reviewed the images privately on a police detective’s laptop in the witness box before the judge had them sealed.

Lahey was charged in September 2009 after border agents searched his laptop at Ottawa International Airport. He was freed on $9,000 bail in October 2009.

Lahey became nervous when a border agent asked him if he had a laptop and ordered a secondary inspection.

He was returning from a trip to London, and his passport contained stamps for Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and Germany.

 

 

• • •

OTTAWA — A Roman Catholic bishop who was caught with pornographic photos and videos of boys has pleaded guilty to importing child pornography.

Raymond Lahey, the 70-year-old former head of the diocese in Antigonish, N.S., also told a judge he’s not guilty of possession of child pornography for the purpose of distribution. It’s not clear what will happen with that charge.

In an unusual move, Lahey waived his bail and was taken into custody even though his sentencing hearing has not been set.

Defence lawyer Michael Edelson said Lahey wanted to start serving time now in order to get credit after sentencing.

Court heard that Lahey had 588 images and dozens of videos of child pornography on his laptop and handheld device. Police categorized the images of young males engaged in sex acts, including the heading: torture, degradation and humiliation.

The judge and lawyers reviewed the images privately on a police detective’s laptop in the witness box and the judge then ordered them sealed.

Lahey was charged in September 2009 after border agents searched his laptop at Ottawa airport when he arrived from Britain. He has been staying with other priests in Ottawa since he was freed on $9,000 bail in October 2009.

Geographic location: OTTAWA, Antigonish

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Recent comments

  • Joanne
    May 05, 2011 - 06:39

    Sorry, all right. Sorry he's caught. Lock him up . Lock him up good.

  • Spock
    May 04, 2011 - 18:25

    Prayers won't help those perverts. This is not about being homosexual, etc, etc,... a sexual deviant that needs to be locked away for a very long time.

  • Donny Dooley Dildo NL
    May 04, 2011 - 16:22

    Come on Brendan! It's not a few bad apples the entire barrel is rotten! Don't you read the papers and watch the news? When you google 'catholic priest' the first hit you get is 'scandal'. Do the math!

  • Donny Dooley Dildo NL
    May 04, 2011 - 16:18

    Looks like Rochelle is living in a dreamland. Probably believes in the easter bunny and tooth ferry too!

  • Peggy
    May 04, 2011 - 16:13

    This is pure cruel perversion. He is still just full of selfishness, asking to start his sentence immediately so it will be considered double time served when he is sentenced. He's been living in the lap of luxury the past year and a half; did all his little innocent victims have such privileges?

    • Judy Benson
      May 05, 2011 - 22:33

      His only remorse is that he was caught,,,,,,,,

  • Brendan White
    May 04, 2011 - 15:14

    As a practicing Roman Catholic, I rejoice in the fact that there is one fewer former clergy able to sexually exploit others. Society is much safer when these people are incarcerated and no longer able to exploit. Christians of all persuasions should never let a few bad apples spoil the whole barrel. I look forward to the day when all our Christian churches are led by holy and honorable men and women. My faith is in a Saving Lord; bad clergy can't change that. I hope Lahey gets his just punishment.

    • johnjack
      May 04, 2011 - 17:50

      A few bad apples what a crock that is thousands nice try !!!

  • Rochelle Dennis
    May 04, 2011 - 15:09

    The media has done an excellent job of discrediting every bit of good that the Church does. We never hear of the good things only the bad. It is the only Church founded by Christ and therefore it is on the hit list. Even Jesus when he choose his twelve disciples there was one there who denied him. Too bad everyone is in such a rush to condemn all the Parish Priests. I know some have done wrong but to suggest all are guilty is even a greater sin because God himself says that you must forgive not seven times but seventy seven in other words indefinitely. Lets pray for our priests, ministers and any other persons in authority who deal with young people. Remember, there but for the grace of God go I.

    • mary
      May 05, 2011 - 12:00

      "there but for the grace of God go I." So, it is God's grace that decides if someone is a sexual predator or not???? WOW, isn't that something, what a wonderful God you have. This powerful God of yours is one sick puppy.

  • Just Sayin'
    May 04, 2011 - 14:24

    I hope he is punished to the fullest extent of the law! it is absolutely repulsive to think that anybody could exploit innocent children this way! however it seems to be a trend within the rc clergy... maybe they should get over it and let them marry or come out of the closet maybe then they will leave the poor little boys alone! I am sure it is not all clergy members and i am sure it happens within other faiths but you cant help but wonder why it seems to be so prodominate in the roman catholic church.

  • baynurse
    May 04, 2011 - 12:27

    There is always a few bad apples in every barrel, we can't judge the church by Lahey's behaviour. I hope the justice system gives the punishment he is due.

  • Joseph McGrath
    May 04, 2011 - 12:11

    I am glad this man was caught and proven to be guilty.I am a practicing RC and the events of the past 20 years or more has indeed tested my faith but I am glad to say that I have accepted the fact that creeps like Lahey who were a part of my church have been caught and exposed and the full force of the law applied to them. I feel that this exposure of so many vile creeps like Lahey has been a cruxificion to many Catholics like me and some will never regain their faith. I have come to accept that the RC church has had its abundant share of bad clergy and hopeful all have been exposed. I still believe in Christ.I still feel a great love for the RC Church and I feel it is through the RC church that I can best attain salvation of my soul The RC church has many fine men and women serving the needs of her members and they work long and hard to live out their vocation as they accepted it.I still feel great admiration for these clergy ,teachers,nuns etc. Many will disagree with me while others will no doubt mock my adherance to the RC faith but that is my choice and my own business. So lets hope anyone who finds themselves living a life devoid of any faith practice may still live in great peace. I do not wish to push my personal beliefs on anyone.

  • james
    May 04, 2011 - 11:44

    i gave up going to church years ago, these people make me sick

  • Donny Dooley Dildo NL
    May 04, 2011 - 11:34

    If you ever needed another reason to stop supporting the catholic church...

  • Derrick
    May 04, 2011 - 11:32

    The Roman Catholic Church at its finest!!! Imagine when they all get caught!