This made them search the bishop

AirportXrayYou remember Bishop Raymond Lahey don't you, the Catholic bishop who was caught in a Canadian airport security line with very naughty materials on his laptop computer? You may recall that I wrote a post here asking a basic question about the early coverage of the bishop's fall, which was made all the more tragic and ironic by his high-profile role guiding a settlement case with some victims of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy. Thus, I asked:

What led to the secondary search of the laptop hard drive of a Catholic bishop? ... Laptop computers are sent through scanners everywhere. I get that. But what was the trigger that led to his computer being switched on and then electronically searched, using a method that would detect images?

Well, the Chronicle Herald in Halifax has a story out that answers that question. And then some.

This is rough stuff and, at times, it's hard to believe what you are reading. Suffice it to say, the bishop gave the game away early and often. Here's the top of this crime-beat report:

Bishop Raymond Lahey avoided eye contact, changed his vocal tone and gave evasive responses when a border agent at Ottawa International Airport questioned him last month about his electronic equipment.

A Canada Border Services agent asked the bishop if he was carrying any electronic media such as cellphones, laptop computers or BlackBerrys when he arrived at the airport at 3:43 p.m. on Sept. 15, says a search warrant application. Bishop Lahey had just arrived from London, England.

The bishop told the border agent he had two cellphones.

The agent then asked the former head of the Diocese of Antigonish if he had a laptop. Bishop Lahey hesitated before saying he did. In all, the bishop was carrying a laptop, two cellphones, four memory sticks, three memory cards and a portable hand-held device.

The agent flagged Bishop Lahey for a secondary inspection because of his behaviour and the fact he was a man traveling alone who had visited countries known to be sources of child pornography, says an Ottawa police officer's application for the warrant on Sept. 23.

So where had the bishop been in recent years? He had made multiple trips to Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Spain and Germany.

Preliminary and then advanced searches discovered multiple images, which are described in the news report. Look up the details there, if you must. There is this crucial detail about some of the images: They contain one boy who officials described as eight to 10 years old with a dark complexion and a blond boy that is believed to be nine to 12.

The bishop, however, told police that "the laptop belonged to him and that he was attracted to males aged 20 to 21."

And so forth and so on. I do want to ask another question at this stage in the story's development: Where are the comments from critics -- right and left -- of the hierarchy's handling of this whole issue? Just asking. This is more than a basic crime story.

Meanwhile, the details are presented in a straightforward manner and it's clear that the newspaper and the state officials know they are dealing with bad stuff. One could wish for a similar moral clarity in other high-profile cases in this day and age, but that would be asking for mass-media miracles, which can be rare.

Hat tip: That would be Diogenes, of course.

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