Former Canadian bishop faces child porn charges

Wed Sep 30, 2009 6:21pm EDT
 
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OTTAWA (Reuters) - A former Canadian bishop who oversaw the settlement of sex abuse allegations against the Roman Catholic Church, is facing child pornography charges, police said on Wednesday.

Bishop Raymond Lahey, from the Roman Catholic diocese of Antigonish in Nova Scotia, was returning to Canada on September 15, when border agents at the Ottawa airport performed a check of his laptop computer and seized it for investigation.

Lahey subsequently announced last Saturday that he was resigning his post for personal reasons. His resignation letter made no mention of the investigation.

Police said they found images on the computer that "were of concern" and Lahey was charged last Sunday with possession and importation of child pornography. Earlier media reports had wrongly said he had been charged with sale and distribution.

Lahey was released after his laptop was seized at the airport and a warrant has now been issued for his arrest, according to the Canada Border Services Agency.

A spokesman for the diocese said he was unaware of the charges.

Earlier this year, Lahey oversaw a C$13 million ($12 million) settlement with people who said they had been sexually abused by priests in the Antigonish diocese in a case dating back to 1950. The court approved the settlement this month.

($1=$1.07 Canadian)

(Reporting by Allan Dowd and David Ljunggren; editing by Rob Wilson)