Crown waiting on report from forensic psychiatrist
By Deborah Gyapong
Canadian Catholic News
OTTAWA (CNN)--Bishop Raymond Lahey’s sentencing hearing for importing child porn has been postponed to Aug. 4 and 5.
The sentencing hearing had been scheduled for June 24, but the Crown had not received the report from forensic psychiatrist Dr. John Bradford, who assessed the former Antigonish bishop.
Lahey, 71, faces a minimum of one year in prison and could receive up to 10 years. In August, Bradford will be cross-examined concerning the bishop’s mental state and likelihood of reoffending.
Lahey pleaded guilty to importing child pornography May 4. His plea came 18 months after a Canadian Border Services Agent stopped the bishop at Ottawa airport in September 2009 and pulled him aside for a secondary search of his laptop.
A more serious charge of possession for the purpose of distribution was dropped by the Crown. The bishop opted to go to jail immediately, pending his sentencing hearing.
Lahey’s lawyer Michael Edelson told the court May 4 his client “feels very deeply and profoundly remorseful for what he has done.”
Lahey’s computer and other electronic devices contained 588 photos, 60 videos and stories the police categorized as child pornography. The stories fell into themes of torture, humiliation, degradation and slavery of young boys.
The bishop, who resigned his Antigonish See abruptly after his electronic devices were seized, could face canonical penalties, including dismissal from the clerical state.
After he pleaded guilty May 4, the Vatican press office released a statement saying: "The Catholic Church condemns sexual exploitation in all its forms, especially when perpetrated against minors. Although the civil process has run its course, the Holy See will continue to follow the canonical procedures in effect for such cases, which will result in the imposition of the appropriate disciplinary or penal measures.”
The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops also issued a statement condemning “all forms of sexual exploitation, especially involving minors” and said it “continues to work to prevent such behaviour and to bring healing to the victims and their families.”