Man who claims future bishop abused him went from Mount Cashel to crime: lawyer

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Canadian Press

09 April 2010

By Sue Bailey (CP) – 1 hour ago

 ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — The man who alleges the future Bishop Raymond Lahey sexually assaulted him 28 years ago lost faith in authority and went on to a life of crime, says his lawyer.

 Greg Stack said Friday his client Todd Boland racked up a long criminal record after leaving the infamous Mount Cashel Orphanage in St. John’s, N.L.

 Boland turned 37 at a prison in New Brunswick on Thursday as news broke of his lawsuit against Lahey and the Catholic Archdiocese of St. John’s.

“It is common with a lot of victims of childhood sexual abuse, particularly when it’s from a high-up authority figure, that they lose respect for any authority as a consequence,” Stack, who has represented many claimants in such cases, said in an interview.

“This was a God-like figure to this young fella that was in the orphanage.”

Boland says he was nine years old in 1982 when Lahey served as a pastoral priest at the orphanage. He alleges that over the next four years, Lahey assaulted him on fishing trips and other outings, including simulated anal sex and fondling.

None of the allegations made in the statement of claim has been proven in court. Statements of defence have not been filed with the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Lahey, a native Newfoundlander, resigned as head of the Catholic diocese of Antigonish in Nova Scotia before he was charged in September with possessing and importing child pornography. He is to stand trial next April in Ottawa.

His arrest followed a search of his laptop by border agents at the Ottawa airport after Lahey flew in from Britain.

Lahey’s lawyer has declined comment on the statement of claim filed in Newfoundland and Labrador. Lahey has not been charged in connection with the allegations in the lawsuit.

Stack said his client has a lengthy criminal record consisting of “break and enters, things of that nature.”

Lahey and the Catholic Archdiocese of St. John’s are named as defendants in the suit.

Boland is seeking damages for pain, mental suffering, humiliation and loss of enjoyment of life. He accuses the archdiocese and Alphonsus Penney – who resigned as archbishop of St. John’s in 1990 – of negligence and failure to protect him from Lahey, “having been aware that the plaintiff, as a young boy, was vulnerable to his attentions and influence.”

Boland asserts that the archdiocese “knew, or ought to have known” about the alleged sexual misconduct. He further claims that church officials failed “to properly supervise and to give proper guidance, direction, and control to their employee.” 

Boland accuses the archdiocese of “failure to take proper and reasonable steps to ensure that its priests were adequately screened prior to being placed in positions where they would be left alone with children and young persons.”

Archbishop Martin Currie of the Catholic Archdiocese of St. John’s had been out of town until Friday and said he hadn’t yet seen Boland’s statement of claim.

“Perhaps when I get an opportunity now I’ll be able to consult with my legal counsel to see what the allegations actually are,” he said in an interview.

The church has tried to make changes to protect children, Currie said.

“The Archdiocese of St. John’s wishes to express compassion for anyone who was abused, particularly those who have been harmed by the church’s ministers,” he said.

“Mount Cashel was a very sad chapter in the history of the church. And hopefully we’ve been trying to put measures in place to put that behind us, because we’d like to wipe sexual abuse out altogether.”

The orphanage was razed after closing in 1990 amid revelations that Christian Brothers had molested boys in their care.

Sexual abuse is “very rampant in society, not only in the church but you know in minor sports, and schools and everywhere,” Currie said. 

Priests strive to uphold a higher standard, he added.

“When someone … in whom you hope to have put trust, when that trust is betrayed it causes that much more hurt and that much more pain.”

Currie hailed those who have shown the courage to speak out about what they suffered as children.

“In many ways they have provided a voice for, I suppose, all who have lost their childhood innocence to the tragedy of sexual abuse, and have struggled to recover their sexual and emotional bounds.

“We thank them for their heroic action and hopefully they’ll be able to reclaim in some way their childhood that was robbed from them. And many times, as we understand, their adulthood is robbed from them because of the devastation that sexual abuse wrecks on somebody. 

“And I want to say as a church, we stand with all those who now are trying to promote the rights of children to be full human persons, alive in every way.”

Copyright © 2010 The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.


Nova Scotia bishop may have done more than download child porn

Macleans magazine online (

09 April 2010

Raymond Lahey is accused of fondling 10-year-old boy

Raymond Lahey, the Nova Scotia bishop who was arrested last year on child pornography charges, is now accused of sexually abusing a 10-year-old boy. According to a statement of claim filed in the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador, the victim, Todd Boland, says he was repeatedly fondled over his clothes in the mid-1980s, while Lahey was the vicar-general of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. John’s. Greg Stack, Boland’s lawyer, said the child porn charges spurred his client to come forward. “An awful lot of victims of sexual abuse just try to bury it in their subconscious,” Stack said. “Any priest or figure like that is a godlike figure, I suppose, having been brought up Roman Catholic.” The lawsuit comes as the Vatican continues to be hammered by new revelations of clergy abuse—and systemic cover-up.

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