Lahey surprises courtroom with request to speak
Published Tuesday, December 20, 2011 5:51PM EST
Jaws dropped in an Ottawa courtroom when disgraced former Catholic Bishop Raymond Lahey asked to speak. The 71-year-old who pleaded guilty to importing child pornography in May, made a lengthy apology and said he was sorry for any hurt caused to children, their families and the Roman Catholic Church.
"I've always believed that people should take full responsibility for their actions and I certainly want to take full responsibility for my own," said Lahey.
"I know that I've done wrong. Not only something illegal, but something that goes against the moral principles that I believe in," he added.
Lahey was stopped at the Ottawa International Airport in 2009. Ottawa police say they found hundreds of child pornography files on Lahey's personal computer.
Lahey has been behind bars voluntarily since his guilty plea. His lawyer is asking for the one-year minimum sentence and a two-for-one credit for time already served. It means Lahey would be released next month.
While the judge said Lahey is eligible for the credit, it doesn't mean it is what he will get.
A psychiatrist told the court yesterday, Lahey admitted to being interested in homosexuality, adolescent males and sadomasochism. But said Lahey is not a pedophile and was unlikely to commit a hands-on sexual offence.
"I became addicted to internet pornography…and this was an addiction powerful enough that despite my own distaste for it…I could not break it," Lahey told the court.
The former bishop of two Atlantic Canadian dioceses said being caught was a blessing in disguise and that "deep down I desired to be caught."
Lahey acknowledged the media attention surrounding his case and said he would take it as an opportunity to speak to others in his position. He said "cease it …not just because it's illegal – it's unhealthy."
The sentence will be given at 10 a.m. on January 4.
With a report from CTV Ottawa's Catherine Lathem