Date for sentencing arguments set for bishop caught with child pornography

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The Ottawa Citizen

27 May 2011

By Andrew Duffy

OTTAWA — Disgraced Catholic bishop Raymond Lahey is to have a sentencing hearing for his child-pornography crime on June 24.

The date — for submissions on how long a sentence he should serve, not likely for a sentence to be imposed — was set by Crown and defence lawyers and a judge in Ottawa court Thursday morning. Lahey, then the bishop of Antigonish in Nova Scotia, was caught with child pornography on his laptop computer when he was passing through the Ottawa airport in summer 2009 after a trip abroad.

A psychiatrist who examined Lahey for a sexual behaviours assessment following his arrest is expected to testify about her findings during the sentencing hearing.

Just three days shy of his 71st birthday, Lahey sat quietly in the prisoner’s box during the brief appearance.

Lahey held his hand to his chin and rubbed his lips with a finger. He wore the same suit jacket and dress shirt as the day he entered his guilty plea.

Lahey pleaded guilty on May 4 to possessing child pornography for the purpose of importation and voluntarily went to jail then, since the crime carries a mandatory one-year jail sentence and he chose to start serving that time immediately. He retains his rank in the Catholic Church until a canonical disciplinary process concludes.

Lahey had been a central figure in settling a lawsuit against his diocese over the sexual abuse of children by priests in Nova Scotia. The diocese agreed to pay $15 million.

The material he was caught with in Ottawa, about five weeks later, included photographs and stories featuring the humiliation and degradation of young boys.

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