His 'itinerary' was apparently the big reason for his extended search.
Kudos to Canuck customs for having a clue. When adult men return from Thailand flying solo, I agree, they should be searched a little more... IMOhttp://thechronicleherald.ca/Front/1146579.html
OTTAWA — Bishop Raymond Lahey, who has been charged with possessing child pornography, has travelled to Thailand, a spokeswoman for the church said on Wednesday.
"It was no secret that he travelled to Southeast Asia in the past," said Marilyn Sweet, communications officer for the archdiocese of Halifax. "I don’t know how many times but I certainly know that he had travelled in Southeast Asia."
In a column at halifaxnewsnet.ca this week, radio host Rick Howe wrote that the bishop’s history of travel to sex tourism destinations such as Thailand and Cambodia explained why border officials searched the bishop’s computer at Ottawa International Airport on Sept. 15.
Officials from the Canada Border Services Agency found "images of concern" on his laptop. In a later forensic analysis, investigators found images they allege to be child pornography and issued a Canada-wide arrest warrant for the bishop, at which point he resigned.
In an email exchange on Wednesday, Mr. Howe said he does have a source for his assertion, but he can’t reveal it.
"For all I know, Lahey might have had legitimate church business on his travels, but where he went red-flagged him for a check and that was his undoing," he said.
Police, government officials and church spokespeople have declined to reveal where the bishop was coming from when his laptop was seized on Sept. 15.
His secretary at the Antigonish diocese, Cathy Martin, doesn’t know.
"The bishop took care of his own travel arrangements so far as I knew," she said Wednesday.
She would not say how long he was out of the country, referring that question to Rev. Paul Abbass in Antigonish and Ms. Sweet in Halifax. Father Abbass did not respond to an email request. Ms. Sweet said the church is not answering questions for the bishop.
Bishop Lahey’s Ottawa lawyer, Michael Edelson, does not respond to media requests.
The Privacy Act prevents the Canada Border Services Agency from saying where Bishop Lahey was coming from on Sept. 15, or why agents decided to search his computer.
"It could be any number of things, in terms of behaviour the person exhibits, or anything else they see based on what comes up on the databases that we have access to that record information about that individual," said Chris Kealey.
A former police officer who worked in a child porn unit, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said it seems likely that there was some reason for the agents to check the bishop’s computer, but Canada does not have high-tech watch lists at the border to flag suspected child porn importers.
"There’s only one deduction left to make," he said. "This guy gets off the plane. They’re waiting for him. What happened? He’s on somebody’s radar, but whose? Who knows?"
Julian Sher, author of One Child at a Time, about the hunt for child pornographers, said that it seems likely there was some reason for the laptop check.
"I do know that it’s extremely rare that they check for contents of computers. It could be random, but more than likely there was some kind of trigger. The question is, if there was some kind of trigger, what was the trigger. The individual or the travel path?"
Mr. Sher said Canada has failed to take aggressive measures to track down Canadians who sexually exploit children overseas, or get tough in sentencing.
"In one huge case where the Canadians led a huge investigation that led to a big international ring being busted, a lot of the Americans got five or 10 years, some of the Canadians heavily involved got 14 days to be served on weekends," he said. "It’s a joke."
And the fight against child porn is important, he said, because it is so often a marker of child abuse.
One study in the American prison system found 85 per cent of men convicted of possessing child porn admitted to having sexually assaulted children, he said.