Disgraced Bishop Lahey apologizes for his Internet porn addiction

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The Ottawa Citizen

20 December 2011 7:51 pm

By Andrew Seymour

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.

Lahey, who voluntarily turned himself in following his guilty plea, will remain behind bars for Christmas.

Lahey could be out of custody as soon as Jan. 4, however, after Ontario Court Justice Kent Kirkland sided with Lahey’s lawyers’ arguments that he should receive two-for-one credit for the nearly eight months he’s already spent in jail. Lahey is facing a one-year mandatory minimum sentence, but if Kirkland settles on any sentence under 16 months, Lahey will have already served his time.

The Crown is asking for 18 to 22 months followed by two years probation.

Kirkland ruled that Lahey was entitled to the two-for-one credit since the date of his offence preceded the Truth in Sentencing Act, even though he turned himself in more than a year after its passage.

Kirkland rejected prosecutor Mihael Cole’s argument that Lahey was trying to “manipulate” the system by going into custody early and then seeking enhanced credit to shorten the amount of actual time he might have to serve.

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.”

aseymour@ottawacitizen.com

© Copyright (c) The Ottawa Citizen

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Disgraced Catholic bishop Raymond Lahey apologizes for child porn, cites ‘powerful’ addiction

Vancouver Sun

20 December 2011

BY ANDREW SEYMOUR, OTTAWA CITIZEN DECEMBER 20, 2011 4:33 PM

Disgraced Catholic bishop Raymond Lahey is interested in sado-masochistic sex and addicted to Internet pornography but isn't a pedophile, a forensic psychiatrist testified Monday.

Disgraced Catholic bishop Raymond Lahey is interested in sado-masochistic sex and addicted to Internet pornography but isn’t a pedophile, a forensic psychiatrist testified Monday.

Photograph by: Mike Carroccetto, Canwest News Service

OTTAWA — Disgraced Catholic bishop Raymond Lahey apologized in court Tuesday for possessing child pornography and urged others who may have similar addictions to online pornography to seek help.

“I have always believed that people should take full responsibility for their actions, and I certainly want to take full responsibility for my own,” Lahey told Ontario Court Justice Kent Kirkland.

“I know I’ve done wrong, not only something illegal, but something that goes against the moral principles I believe in,” he continued.

“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.”

Lahey said he believes he wanted to be found out but his addiction, coupled with his high-ranking position in the church, kept him from seeking the help he needed. Lahey said he believes he has tried to deal with it now.

He also wanted to warn others 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.”

Lahey pleaded guilty in May to possession of child pornography for the purpose of importation. He was nabbed with the illicit materials at the Ottawa airport in September 2009 as he returned to Canada from abroad.

Lahey has spent more than seven months in jail after voluntarily surrendering himself into custody following his plea.

He is facing a one-year mandatory minimum sentence.

Kirkland ruled Tuesday that he will receive two-for-one credit for his time already spent in jail, meaning he could be released with time served on Jan. 4, when Kirkland is expected to pass sentence.

© Copyright (c) The Ottawa Citizen

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