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Child porn linked to Mount Cashel

Bishop allegedly had images decades ago

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ST. JOHN'S -- Police in Newfoundland and Labrador say they're reviewing an allegation that Raymond Lahey -- a Roman Catholic bishop facing child-pornography charges in Ontario -- possessed child porn more than 20 years ago.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 03/10/2009 (4865 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

ST. JOHN’S — Police in Newfoundland and Labrador say they’re reviewing an allegation that Raymond Lahey — a Roman Catholic bishop facing child-pornography charges in Ontario — possessed child porn more than 20 years ago.

Billy Earle told CBC on Thursday his brother, Shane, saw child pornography in the Mount Pearl, N.L., home of Lahey in 1985.

Const. Paul Davis of the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary said Friday investigators became aware of Earle’s allegation on Thursday and immediately began a review.

CP Peter Parsons / the canadian press archives Bishop Raymond Lahey (centre) is seen in 2003 file photo. Lahey now faces child-pornography charges.

“We became aware of this information late yesterday (Thursday), minutes before the first broadcast and we immediately began a review to determine if the information is accurate,” he said in the statement sent by email.

Davis said police are reviewing audio and video records of interviews with “victims and offenders” from their investigation of sex-abuse allegations at the Mount Cashel orphanage, including those of Billy and Shane Earle.

“We are continuing to review our files, audio and video records of interviews with victims and offenders including those of William and Shane Earle and so far have not located any evidence to support the allegations made by Mr. William Earle purportedly on behalf of his brother, Shane,” he said. “We will continue our search in an effort to locate any record.”

During a public inquiry into abuse at Mount Cashel in October 1989, Shane Earle — a former resident of the orphanage — testified he saw something in Lahey’s home as a teenager that disturbed him and caused his hospitalization for depression.

The inquiry heard the incident happened in 1985 at Lahey’s home. Earle said he lost control after spotting something in the house, but at that point inquiry lawyer Clayton Powell quickly warned him not to mention what he had seen. “I remember I was in the house by myself, I got very upset and took some vitamin pills,” Earle testified. “I wasn’t acting very sensible.”

Neither Shane nor Billy Earle could be reached for comment on Friday. Shane Earle’s lawyer during the inquiry has also refused comment.

Powell, who is now a lawyer in London, Ont., said Friday he had “no recollection” of cutting Earle off during his testimony. He said it was possible he advised Earle not to say what he saw at Lahey’s home because it didn’t relate specifically to Mount Cashel, but Powell said he couldn’t be sure.

Lahey served as bishop for the archdiocese of Antigonish, N.S., for six years before resigning last weekend. Before that, the 69-year-old was a bishop in Newfoundland and Labrador.

His laptop and other media devices were seized by border guards when he was returning to Canada at the Ottawa airport on Sept. 15. Ottawa police charged him with possession and importing child pornography on Sept. 25 after a forensic investigation found images that police say were of “concern.”

He surrendered to police on Thursday in Ottawa and was released on bail until a court appearance on Nov. 4.

— The Canadian Press

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