Bishop in child porn case surrenders

Thu Oct 1, 2009 2:27pm EDT
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By Chris Wattie and David Ljunggren

OTTAWA (Reuters) - A Canadian Roman Catholic bishop facing child pornography charges surrendered to police on Thursday, a day after police issued a nationwide arrest warrant for him.

Bishop Raymond Lahey, from the Roman Catholic diocese of Antigonish in the eastern province of Nova Scotia, has been charged with possession and importation of child pornography.

The case is rocking the church, particularly because earlier this year Lahey oversaw the settlement of long-standing sex abuse allegations against several priests.

Pope Benedict has asked top church officials in Canada to do what they can to alleviate the shock, said a senior church figure who described the case as devastating and a tragedy.

Lahey, 69, said nothing to a waiting crowd of reporters as he walked into Ottawa's police headquarters with his lawyer.

"He's in custody now. He's in our cell block," police spokesman Alain Boucher later told journalists, saying Lahey would be fingerprinted and then face a bail hearing on Thursday or Friday.

Halifax Archbishop Anthony Mancini, the most senior Roman Catholic in Nova Scotia, said the charges had caused sadness, pain and anxiety.

"I have been asked by Pope Benedict through his intermediary in Canada ... to bring whatever help and care I can to everyone concerned in this time of need and this time of difficulty," he told a news conference in the town of Sydney.   Continued...

<p>Bishop Raymond Lahey arrives at a police station in Ottawa October 1, 2009. Lahey, 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. REUTERS/Chris Wattie</p>