CNS FILE PHOTO | CHRIS WATTIE, REUTERS
Retired Bishop Raymond Lahey of the Diocese of Antigonish, N.S., is shown arriving at a police station in Ottawa in October 2009 to face child pornography charges.
OTTAWA – Bishop Raymond Lahey is not a pedophile and poses a next to zero chance of offending sexually or violently against children, a forensic psychiatrist told the court during a sentencing hearing Dec. 19.
Dr. John Bradford, who examined Lahey and put him through a battery of tests, described him as a homosexual with an addiction to Internet pornography.
Lahey also entertains sadomasochistic fantasies where he is the submissive partner or slave, but Bradford said Lahey told him he has never acted on those fantasies.
Some of the images and the themes of the stories found on the bishop's computer were of master/slave relationships or the torture and humiliation of young boys.
The former Antigonish bishop pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography for the purpose of importation last May and opted to go directly to jail before sentencing. He has already served seven and a half months.
The Crown is arguing for 18 to 22 month sentence.
Lahey's lawyers said he should be released now and put on probation, arguing he should get a two-for-one credit for time already served applied to the one-year minimum sentence for his conviction.
The Truth in Sentencing Act was passed in February 2010, but Lahey was charged in September 2009 so the law in effect at the time of the charges should apply, they said.
Lahey's sentencing hearing was postponed to December because of the difficulty in finding a time when all parties and Bradford would be available.
In a sexual history inventory, Lahey revealed to Bradford that he had engaged in "a number of one night stands" before settling into a "longstanding relationship that has lasted 10 years" that the bishop hopes to continue when he leaves prison.
Attorney Michael Edelson told CCN he knew about the romantic relationship and said the other man was not a cleric but a "civilian."
Bradford described Lahey's sexual interest as a "strange mix of homosexual masochism and hebophilia," which is an attraction to peri-pubescent or post-pubescent boys.
But Bradford told the court he would not categorize Lahey as a hebophile, also known as ephebophile. Lahey had no personality disorder, and while he showed some signs of cognitive distortion, the psychiatrist did not think he needed psychiatric treatment for them.
Lahey, who has been in isolation in the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre, seemed to have lost about 20 to 30 pounds over the past several months. The tweed jacket he has worn to hearings hung off him.
Edelson said he had concerns about his clients' health. Lahey sat behind the glass in the prisoner's box, arms crossed, for most of the proceedings.
Bradford said Lahey's age, 71, and his decreased sex drive as a result of the trauma of his incarceration has greatly reduced his likelihood of ever posing a danger to children or teens.
Edelson compared Lahey's position to the plight of the character in Nathaniel Hawthorne's novel the Scarlet Letter. Instead of wearing a scarlet "A" for adultery, Lahey will forever wear the initials "CP" for child porn in people's eyes, he said. He has been "hounded" by the media.
"This has been an enormous fall from grace," he said, speaking about the bishop's loss of his position, his reputation and his stature in the community that he will never regain.
Edelson said that of the 588 child porn images shown, only 285 were possessed knowingly, since many were in the temporary cache.
Lahey had more than 155,000 images on his computer of pornography, making the child porn amount less than one per cent of the total amount. There were some images of children engaged in sexual acts, but none of very young children or infants.
There is no evidence Lahey paid for child pornography, or that he knew how to use sophisticated file sharing equipment, Edelson said. He also spoke of the good the bishop had done, his academic accomplishments and character references from people who had known him for decades.
Edelson said among the many mitigating factors in Lahey's life is the $13-million settlement he arranged for victims of sexual abuse in the Antigonish Diocese, a settlement that was widely hailed as compassionate and fair.