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Canadian bishop charged with possession of child pornography; whereabouts unknown

Catholic World News - October 01, 2009

Bishop Raymond Lahey of Antigonish, who resigned last week after he agreed to a $13-million diocesan abuse settlement, is wanted on child pornography charges.

Police report that they discovered child pornography on the bishop's laptop during a routine check at Ottawa’s airport on September 15. Bishop Lahey was released at that time, pending an investigation. An arrest warrant has now been issued, and law-enforcement officials are searching for the bishop.

Archbishop Anthony Mancini of Halifax, Nova Scotia’s leading prelate and now apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Antigonish, said that he had not known why Bishop Lahey had resigned and that he was “shocked, hurt because it impacts on me as a leader who was trying to do my job.”

“So, honestly, part of my concern is, is there anyone left that we can believe?” he said. “I think many will see this as something that will make the Church less credible than we are. It certainly reminds us all that if ever we thought that we had a perfect Church, we certainly don’t.” Archbishop Mancini, who says that he spoke recently with Bishop Lahey by cell phone, appealed to the bishop to surrender to police.

In announcing his resignation, shortly after approving the diocesan settlement with sex-abuse victims, Bishop Lahey had disclosed only that he would take "much-needed time for personal renewal." He did not mention that he was subject to arrest. A spokesman for the Antigonish diocese acknowledged that there had been "a ton of speculation" about the real reasons for the sudden resignation.

Bishop Lahey, 69, was ordained Bishop of Saint George’s (Newfoundland) in 1986 and transferred to the Diocese of Antigonish in 2003.

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