Thursday, October 8, 2009

Graphic content found in Lahey's laptop

Canadian border officials found sexually explicit images on Bishop Raymond Lahey's computer the day he was detained at Ottawa's airport and 10 days before he was charged with possessing child pornography, according to a search warrant document filed at the Ottawa courthouse.

The seven-page sworn statement, obtained by CBC News, describes why Lahey was pulled aside for a secondary examination as he re-entered Canada on Sept. 15, and contains detailed descriptions of images the officers allege they found on Lahey's laptop during the initial inspection.

Officers with Ottawa police and Canada Border Services Agency allege the images included graphic photographs of males, who police believe are under age 18 and who they suspect could be as young as eight.

The information was later used to obtain a search warrant for Lahey's laptop, as well as four memory sticks, three memory cards, two cellphones and a portable hand-held device.

Lahey, who was named bishop of Antigonish in 2003, was charged with possessing and importing child pornography on Sept. 25. He announced his retirement the next day, saying he was stepping down "for personal renewal."

He turned himself in to Ottawa police on Oct. 1 and was released on $9,000 bail the same day. His next court appearance is Nov. 4.

Passport inspected

The document says border services agent Venessa Fairey inspected Lahey's passport at her counter at Ottawa International Airport after his arrival on a flight from London, England. She noted he had made several trips to Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Spain and Germany since 2005.

Fairey reportedly asked Lahey if he had a laptop computer, and Lahey hesitated before replying, "Yes."

The document says Fairey then flagged him for a secondary inspection for these reasons:

  • He was a male travelling alone.
  • He had travelled extensively to source countries for child pornography.
  • He had evasive responses to questions pertaining to his possession of electronic media.
  • There were changes in vocal tone during specific questions.
  • He avoided eye contact during specific questions.

A second border services agent viewed three images on Lahey's laptop and arrested him for smuggling prohibited material into the country. During a subsequent interview with an Ottawa police officer, Lahey said he was attracted to males aged 20 to 21, the document says.

At the time, officers concluded they could not determine the ages of the males in the images and Lahey was released unconditionally, though his electronic devices were seized.

Another search revealed five more sexually explicit images, which featured males who, police said, appeared to be eight to 10 years old.

The document says investigators then stopped their inspection of the laptop and filed a warrant to conduct a thorough search.

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