Disgraced bishop Raymond Lahey freed for time already served for child porn

Share Button

The Ottawa Citizen

04 January 2012  4:07 pm

Andrew Seymour

OTTAWA — A Catholic bishop with an addiction to Internet pornography won’t spend another day in jail for possessing child pornography that included naked young boys wearing rosary beads and crucifixes.

Ontario Court Justice Kent Kirkland sentenced Raymond Lahey to 15 months jail Wednesday, time that he will be credited with already having served.

The sentencing prompted an outburst from one man in the court.

“You’re not a pedophile, you’re a demon, you f–king idiot,” the man yelled at Lahey.

“I’m a survivor, I got to live with it. He’s a f–king demon!” the man shouted, as the judge called for security.

Lahey, 71, pleaded guilty in May to possession of child pornography for the purpose of importation. Lahey had been returning from a trip abroad when customs agents checked his laptop computer and found images which included young boys and teens engaged in sex acts including bondage and torture.

Police discovered 588 child pornography images along with 63 videos and several stories with themes of slavery.

The child pornography made up only a small percentage of the approximately 155,000 pictures of pornography he had on the computer.

Lahey voluntarily surrendered himself into custody to begin serving what the law says must be a minimum mandatory sentence of a year in jail.

However, Kirkland ruled at Lahey’s last court appearance before Christmas that the contrite Lahey should be eligible for two-for-one credit for the eight months he already spent behind bars.

With 16 months credit, Lahey’s sentence was complete, Kirkland found.

Kirkland placed Lahey on probation for two years and put him on the sex offender registry for 20 years.

Kirkland said the mandatory minimum sentence of one year in jail wasn’t sufficient to denounce Lahey’s conduct and elected for the higher sentence. However, the enhanced credit for Lahey’s time served really made it a moot point.

Kirkland said Lahey’s explanation that he was addicted to online pornography was no excuse.

“The violation of the child rises like a phoenix every time that child is viewed,” said Kirkland.

“If the Raymond Lahey’s of this world had no interest in observing the images there’d be no market to produce them,” he added.

However, Lahey had no prior criminal record and a “history of upstanding and community building conduct,” Kirkland said.

Crown prosecutors asked for a sentence of 18 to 22 months.

During an earlier court appearance, Lahey told Kirkland he had an “indiscriminate” addiction to online pornography but didn’t seek help because of his high-ranking position in the church.

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 in September 2009.

A psychiatrist who examined Lahey testified he was interested in gay sado-masochistic sex. Lahey, who once negotiated a $13-million settlement for victims of child sex abuse by priests as the bishop of Antigonish, N.S., wasn’t a risk to reoffend against a child, Dr. John Bradford testified. Bradford was confident he is not a pedophile.

Bradford added Lahey, who has been involved in a 10-year romantic relationship with another man after a number of one-night stands, imagines himself in a “submissive role” in his sado-masochistic sex fantasies.

aseymour@ottawacitizen.com

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *