In a moment of truth and clarity, Archbishop Anthony Mancini once summed up the shock he has shared with most Catholics over the last 30 years as a feeling of “shame and frustration, fear and disappointment, along with a sense of vulnerability and a tremendous poverty of spirit.”

Published in Features

ANTIGONISH, N.S. - The diocese of Antigonish in Nova Scotia no longer owes $16 million to 125 victims of clerical sexual abuse.

The diocese has made its final payment to settle a class-action lawsuit, the Canadian Press reports. The settlement was negotiated by former Bishop Raymond Lahey, who was arrested on charges of importing child pornography just three weeks after announcing the deal to settle claims dating as far back as the 1950s.

The lawsuit was initiated in 2002 by Ron Martin, whose brother committed suicide that year leaving a note about abuse he suffered at the hands of Fr. Hugh Vincent MacDonald. MacDonald was charged in 2003 but died before his trial could come to a conclusion.

The last payment is not the end of the process of healing, said diocesan spokesman Fr. Don MacGillivray.

“Healing always takes time,” MacGillivray told the Canadian Press. “But I’m a person of hope, and that’s what my faith calls me to be.”

The diocese put 150 properties up for sale, dumped its shares in the local weekly paper, The Casket, and drained savings from parishes to come up with the full settlement.

Published in Canada

OTTAWA - Raymond Lahey, the former bishop of Antigonish, has been dismissed from the clerical state.

His dismissal comes due to his conviction last year of possessing child pornography for the purposes of importation to Canada. He pleaded guilty in an Ottawa courtroom May 4, 2011 to the charges and served eight months in prison before being released Jan. 4.

Published in Canada

OTTAWA - Despite the many cases in recent years of unfaithful priests, an expert on sexual abuse and pornography predicts a future with a “much healthier Church and healthier priests.”

Peter Kleponis is a Pennsylvania psychologist who has counselled priests who sexually abused minors as well as men addicted to pornography, his specialty. He says the Church has gone through a painful phase and, although “it’s not over yet,” there is reason for optimism.

“There is hope. There is change,” said Kleponis. But, he adds, “there is still more purification and purging that needs to be done.”

Published in Features

OTTAWA - Bishop Raymond Lahey, 71, received a 15-month jail sentence Jan. 4 for importing child pornography but was released after the judge gave him a two-for-one credit for the eight months he had already spent in prison. The judge also imposed a period of 24 months' probation with strict conditions.

After sentencing, a spectator began shouting obscenities at Lahey through the glass of the prisoner's box and called him a demon. Police rushed into the courtroom, but did not charge the man who said he was a victim of sexual abuse at the St. Joseph Training School for Boys in Alfred, Ont.

Published in Canada

OTTAWA - Former Antigonish Bishop Raymond Lahey was sentenced to 15 months in prison Jan. 4, but will be released today as he has received a two-for-one credit for time served.

The Crown had sought an 18- to 22-month sentence.

Lahey has already served eight months in prison after pleading guilty to possessing child pornography for the purposes of importation to Canada in May. He was imprisoned after pleading guilty on his own request.

Published in Canada

OTTAWA - Disgraced Bishop Raymond Lahey engaged in a number of homosexual “one-night stands” before settling into a 10-year relationship with a man, according to testimony Dec. 19 at Lahey’s sentencing hearing on child pornography charges.

Court also heard that Lahey has an addiction to Internet pornography but is probably not a pedophile and poses a next-to-zero chance of offending sexually or violently against children, according to a forensic psychiatrist. Dr. John Bradford, who examined Lahey, said Lahey has gay sadomasochistic fantasies where he is the submissive partner, although Lahey claims he has never acted on them.

The former Antigonish bishop, 71, pleaded guilty last May to possession of child pornography for the purpose of importation. He opted to go directly to jail before sentencing and has served seven and a half months.

Published in Canada