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Canadian bishop sentenced to 15 months on child-porn charge

Catholic World News - January 04, 2012

A Canadian bishop who pleaded guilty to child-pornography charges has been sentenced to a 15-month prison term.

Because Bishop Raymond Lahey had already been in prison since last May, and the court agreed to credit his times served on a 2-to-1 basis, he was released immediately after his sentencing on January 4. The bishop will remain on probation for two years.

In 2010 the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith released new rules defining the use of child pornography as a "grave offense" in canon law. (The Ottawa Citizen is inaccurate, however, in saying that Bishop Lahey's case will present the first test of those rules.) After the bishop entered a guilty plea in May 2011, the Vatican press office released a statement indicating that the Holy See would "continue to follow the canonical procedures in effect for such cases, which will result in the imposition of the appropriate disciplinary or penal measures.”

Bishop Lahey, the former head of the Antigonish diocese, was arrested in September 2009, after he was stopped at Ottawa’s airport carrying a computer that held hundreds of pornographic images involving young boys. He resigned his episcopal office shortly after his arrest.

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