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Canadian Bishop charged with child porn

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TORONTO — A Roman Catholic bishop who oversaw his diocese's settlement with victims of sex abuse is facing child pornography charges, police said Wednesday.

Bishop Raymond Lahey had his computer and other unspecified media seized after authorities found something troubling during a random search of his laptop computer at Ottawa's airport on Sept. 15, Ottawa Constable J.P. Vincelette said.

Police charged Lahey, 69, with possession and importation of child pornography 10 days later. A warrant has been issued for his arrest and police are still looking for the bishop, Vincelette said.

Lahey made no mention of the arrest when he resigned as bishop of the diocese of Antigonish in Nova Scotia this past weekend. Lahey said he was leaving for personal reasons.

Lahey made national headlines recently when he oversaw a $15-million Canadian (US$14 million) settlement with people who said they had been sexually abused by priests in the diocese dating back to 1950.

Lahey, who wasn't implicated in that case, had said the agreement was the first step in recognizing the alleged abuse of children as young as eight years old.

Father Paul Abbass, speaking for the diocese, said he was shocked by the news and that he didn't know an arrest for child pornography was the reason for the resignation.

"There was all kinds of speculation that he was ill, that it had to do with the legal settlement and that it was stress," Abbass said. "I guess now we know what he meant when he said personal reasons."