Lahey accused of sex abuse

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 Former Mount Cashel resident also names diocese in lawsuit

Halifax Chronicle-Herald

By SUE BAILEY The Canadian Press
Fri. Apr 9 – 4:54 AM 2010

Former Antigonish Bishop Raymond Lahey makes his way into the courthouse in Ottawa on Oct. 9 after being charged with child pornography possession offences. He is now facing new accusations of sexually assaulting a young boy who lived at the notorious Mount Cashel orphanage in St. John’s, N.L. in the 1980s. (ADRIAN WYLD / CP)  
Church kept priest sex allegations secret Vatican and Canadian church officials knew an Ontario priest molested several altar boys a decade before police did.The Globe and Mail has published a copy of a letter on its website in which church officials discussed how to keep the matter secret.

The letter was written in 1993 by the late Bishop Joseph Windle of Pembroke, Ont. and sent to the Pope’s envoy to Canada, Carlo Curis.

It discusses allegations against then-monsignor Bernard Prince, who was convicted in 2008 of molesting 13 boys in the Ottawa Valley between 1964 and 1984.

In the letter, Windle focuses on protecting the church’s image by preventing the scandal from becoming public.

Prince, a friend of the late Pope John Paul II, was yanked out of Canada when the church learned of the allegations and posted to the Vatican.

Windle wrote he agreed with the move, saying it would remove Prince from the Canadian scene and he didn’t object to giving him another chance.

In his letter to the papal nuncio, Bishop Windle cautioned the Vatican to avoid honouring Prince because it could anger victims and prompt them to contact police.

“The consequences of such an action would be disastrous, not only for the Canadian church but for the Holy See as well,” the bishop wrote.

The four-page letter is an exhibit filed this week in a civil suit _ is the first court document to support the long-held belief by victims of Prince that the clergy had known of the problem for years but tried to hush it up.

The lawyer for the Pembroke diocese, did not reply to a phone call and an e-mail about the civil suits.

The Canadian Press



ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — A bishop facing child pornography charges in Ontario is accused in a lawsuit of sexually assaulting a young boy who lived at the notorious Mount Cashel orphanage in St. John’s, N.L.

A statement of claim filed Wednesday in the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador accuses Raymond Lahey of simulated anal intercourse and fondling between 1982 and 1985.

The civil lawsuit alleges the plaintiff first met Lahey in 1982 when Lahey served as a Roman Catholic pastoral priest at the orphanage.

Over the next four years, Lahey “frequently took the plaintiff on outings in and around the city of St. John’s,” says the statement of claim. Those trips “included, but were not limited to, fishing and the like,” it says.

None of the allegations made in the statement of claim has been proven in court. Statements of defence have not been filed with the court.

A lawyer representing Lahey on the child pornography charges in Ottawa declined comment. A spokesman for the Catholic Archdiocese of St. John’s, which is also named in the lawsuit, could not be reached for comment.

The Mount Cashel orphanage was closed in 1990 amid a harrowing scandal of sexual abuse by Christian Brothers. Lahey was never charged in connection with Mount Cashel.

Lahey wasn’t at the centre of allegations surrounding Mount Cashel at the time, but his name was associated with Mount Cashel in media reports last year when a Newfoundland man alleged he found pornographic images in Lahey’s house in the mid-1980s.

Shane Earle alleged in an interview in October that he made a routine visit to Lahey’s house in Mount Pearl when the priest wasn’t home and discovered a stack of magazines of sexually aroused teen boys and explicit videos in his bedroom.

Earle also testified at a public inquiry into abuse at Mount Cashel in October 1989 that he saw something disturbing in Lahey’s home as a teenager in 1985.

When Earle made his allegation in October, the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary said it could not find a record of it. There have been no charges in connection with the allegation.

Lahey resigned as head of the Catholic diocese of Antigonish after he was charged in September with possessing and importing child pornography after border agents examined his computer at the Ottawa airport.

Lahey and the Catholic Archdiocese of St. John’s are named as defendants in the suit, which seeks damages for pain, mental suffering, humiliation and loss of enjoyment of life.

The claim accuses the archdiocese and a former archbishop of negligence and “failure to protect the plaintiff from (Lahey), having been aware that the plaintiff, as a young boy, was vulnerable to the attentions and influence of (Lahey).”

The plaintiff asserts that the archdiocese “knew, or ought to have known” about the alleged sexual misconduct.

He also accuses them of “failure to properly supervise and to give proper guidance, direction, and control to their employee” and “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.”

Lahey was in the news last August when he announced the settlement of a class-action lawsuit aimed at compensating anyone who was allegedly and known to have been sexually assaulted by a priest of the Catholic Episcopal Corp. of Antigonish since Jan. 1, 1950.

Lahey is to stand trial on the child pornography charges in Ottawa next April.

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