Raymond Lahey

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Raymond Lahey
SeeAntigonish (emeritus)
Installed5 April 2003
Term ended26 September 2009
PredecessorColin Campbell
SuccessorBrian Dunn
Ordination13 June 1963
Consecration3 August 1986
Personal details
Born (1940-05-29) 29 May 1940 (age 79)
St. John's, Newfoundland
DenominationRoman Catholic
ResidenceAntigonish, Nova Scotia
Occupationformer member of clergy

Raymond John Lahey (born 29 May 1940) is a Canadian former Bishop of the Catholic Church. He was Bishop of Antigonish, Nova Scotia, from 2003 to 2009. Lahey was charged in 2009 with the importation of child pornography. He was suspended from the exercise of his priestly and sacramental functions, resigned as bishop in 2009, and was laicized in 2012.


Lahey was born in St. John's, Newfoundland, on 29 May 1940. He attended St. Paul University at the University of Ottawa, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Theology in 1961, a Licentiate in Theology (L.Th.) in 1963 and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) (magna cum laude) in 1966.[1]

He was ordained on 13 June 1963.


Lahey served in both clerical and academic positions first in Newfoundland and Labrador, and later in Nova Scotia.[1]


Academic contributions[edit]

Abuse scandal[edit]

On 7 August 2009, Lahey announced that the Diocese of Antigonish had reached a $15 million settlement in a class action lawsuit filed by victims of sexual abuse by diocese priests dating to 1950.[5] The settlement was approved by the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia on 10 September 2009.[6][7] In 2012 the diocese satisfied its legal obligations to pay out $15 million to the victims of sexual abuse, after selling a large number of its properties, liquidating the bank accounts of many of its churches, and borrowing $6.5 million from private lenders.[8]

Criminal charges and laicization[edit]

On 15 September 2009, Lahey returned to Canada from London with a passport bearing visas from Thailand and other Asian countries.[9]). At Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport, Canada Border Services Agency officers performed a random search of Lahey's laptop computer and allegedly uncovered "images . . . that were of concern." Lahey was allowed to continue his journey home to Nova Scotia, but the computer was seized. The Ottawa Police Service alleged that a later forensic examination revealed child pornography.[10]

Lahey pleaded guilty to a charge of "possession of child pornography for the purpose of importation" on 4 May 2011. He requested imprisonment, surrendering his right to bail.[11] That same day, the Holy See acknowledged the plea and announced that it would continue its own process "which will result in the imposition of the appropriate disciplinary or penal measures".[12] On 4 January 2012, he was sentenced to 15 months imprisonment and 24 months of probation. Under Canadian law, time spent in pre-trial detention was credited at a two-to-one rate against a criminal sentence. Lahey’s eight months in pre-trial detention counted as 16 months against his 15-month sentence, and he was discharged on the same day.[13][14][a]

On 16 May 2012, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops announced that Lahey had been laicized.[15]


  1. ^ The federal law that allowed judges to give 2-for-1 credit for time spent in pre-trial detention had been repealed in 2010, but applied in Lahey's case because the statute was still in effect when he was charged in 2009.[13][14]


  1. ^ a b (PDF) http://thechronicleherald.ca/pdfs/bishopbio.pdf. Retrieved 1 October 2009. Missing or empty |title= (help)[dead link]
  2. ^ "Rinunce e Nomine, 05.04.2003" (Press release) (in Italian). Holy See Press Office. Retrieved 14 April 2019.
  3. ^ "Rinunce e Nomine,26.09.2009" (Press release) (in Italian). Holy See Press Office. Retrieved 14 April 2019.
  4. ^ ""N.S. bishop wanted on child porn charges"". Archived from the original on 3 October 2009. Retrieved 7 March 2010.
  5. ^ Ludlow, Jennifer. "More church properties for sale to cover cost of sex-abuse deal". CBC News. Retrieved 5 December 2017.
  6. ^ ""Court approves $15M church sex-abuse deal"". Archived from the original on 14 September 2009. Retrieved 1 October 2009.
  7. ^ "Antigonish Diocese: Sexual Abuse Class Action Lawsuit". McKiggan Hebert - Halifax Personal Injury Lawyers. Retrieved 5 December 2017.
  8. ^ "Diocese of Antigonish starts church review". The Chronicle Herald. 14 April 2014. Retrieved 5 December 2017.
  9. ^ Blanchfield, Mike (4 May 2011). "Bishop pleads guilty to importing child pornography". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 14 April 2019.
  10. ^ The Chronicle Herald. 4 October 2009 https://web.archive.org/web/20091004004222/http://thechronicleherald.ca/Front/1145376.html. Archived from the original on 4 October 2009. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  11. ^ "Vatican decries Canadian bishop's actions, offers prayers for diocese". Catholic News Agency. 5 May 2011. Retrieved 14 April 2019.
  12. ^ "Statement of the Holy See Press Office, 04.05.2011" (Press release). Holy See Press Office. 4 May 2011. Retrieved 14 April 2019.
  13. ^ a b "Bishop Lahey gets time served for child porn". CBC News. 4 January 2012. Retrieved 14 April 2019.
  14. ^ a b Seymour, Andrew (4 January 2012). "Disgraced bishop Raymond Lahey freed for time already served for child porn". Ottawa Citizen.
  15. ^ "Vatican laicizes Canadian bishop convicted of importing child porn". National Catholic Reporter. Catholic News Service. 16 May 2012. Retrieved 14 April 2019.

External links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Richard Thomas McGrath
Bishop of St. George's
8 July 1986 – 5 April 2003
Succeeded by
David Douglas Crosby
Preceded by
Colin Campbell
Bishop of Antigonish
5 April 2003 – 26 September 2009
Succeeded by
Brian Dunn