Police say a Nova Scotia bishop charged with possessing child pornography plans to turn himself in.
A Canada-wide arrest warrant was issued for Raymond Lahey, 69, who brokered a $15-million settlement for victims of sexual abuse by priests in Nova Scotia.
Const. Alain Boucher, spokesman for Ottawa Police Service, said Lahey's lawyer told them the bishop intends to surrender to police.
"The timeline on that is uncertain," he told CBC News Thursday.
Lahey was returning to Canada on Sept. 15 when he was detained at Ottawa International Airport. Canada Border Services agents checked his laptop and found images "of concern," Ottawa police said in a release.
Lahey was allowed to leave, but his computer and other media devices were seized. Police alleged a forensic examination ultimately found child pornography.
On Friday, Ottawa police charged Lahey with possession of child pornography and importation of child pornography.
The next day, he resigned as bishop of the diocese of Antigonish, citing the need for "personal renewal."
Anthony Mancini, the archbishop of Halifax who is overseeing the Antigonish diocese, is heading to Sydney on Thursday to speak with Lahey's former parishioners and hold a news conference.
"It's devastating for me, it's devastating for him, and it's devastating for the whole church, whether it's in Antigonish or Halifax or the rest of Canada," said Mancini.
Mancini said he wasn't aware of the charges against Lahey until Wednesday. He said he spoke with Lahey by cellphone, but doesn't know where he is.
Ronald Martin said his faith was shattered when he learned of the allegations.
Martin launched a class-action lawsuit on behalf of himself and others who were sexually abused by priests in the Roman Catholic diocese of Antigonish. He met with Lahey, then bishop of the diocese, many times over the years to reach a deal.
"The one thing I said to the bishop from the very beginning was that I do not want the survivors revictimized, and I think yesterday was the ultimate revictimization for every single one of us," Martin told CBC News Thursday.
In St. Peter's, Cape Breton, many parishioners were shocked to hear about the charges against Lahey. Some are already upset that they have to help pay for the $15-million settlement, one woman told CBC News.
John McKiggan, the lawyer behind the class-action suit, fears the allegations against Lahey may reflect poorly on the settlement.
"These unfortunate charges have now raised questions about a process to do right, and that's unfortunate," he said Thursday.
The settlement, approved by a Nova Scotia court on Sept. 10, has been described as the first time the Roman Catholic Church has apologized and set up a compensation package for complainants without fighting the charges in court.
Rev. Paul Abbass, spokesman for the diocese of Antigonish, said Wednesday the charges would not affect the legal obligations of the diocese to the settlement.
Lahey was appointed bishop of the Antigonish diocese in 2003 by Pope John Paul II. The Vatican accepted his resignation.
Before that, Lahey served as bishop for the diocese of St. George's in Newfoundland, his home province. He was also a professor of theology at Memorial University in St. John's.
Lahey is a graduate of the Saint Paul University seminary in Ottawa, the Gregorian University in Rome and Cambridge University in England.
Warto przeczytać a nawet zabrać głos:
Logika a wiara
Czy umysł jest funkcją mózgu ?