A Roman Catholic bishop facing pornography charges says he never sexually assaulted a former resident of the infamous Mount Cashel orphanage in St. John’s in the early 1980s.
Bishop Raymond Lahey denies all claims of abuse made in a civil lawsuit filed by Todd Boland last April in St. John's.
Boland claims sexual assaults, which his lawyer Greg Stack described as "fondling," happened over four years beginning in 1982.
Lahey filed his statement of defence in the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador Monday.
In it, he said that he was responsible for Boland’s care almost three decades ago.
"He does admit knowing him and extending what's referred to as pastoral services to him, but he denies that anything improper happened. That anything of a sexual nature happened," Stack told CBC News Tuesday.
Stack estimates his law firm has represented more than 100 people who claim they were sexually abused by Catholic priests — many cases resulted in criminal convictions and compensation settlements.
"Our experience with the Catholic Church is that they give no quarter. They admit nothing. They fight everything. They put victims through extensive and excruciating discovery hearings, and the like, and we have no indication that this will be any different," said Stack
Boland's lawsuit also names the Roman Catholic Episcopal Corporation of St. John's, which hasn't yet filed a defence.
Stack expects it will soon.
Lahey resigned from his position as the former head of the diocese of Antigonish in Nova Scotia after being charged in September with possession of child pornography.
His trial on those charges is scheduled to begin in April 2011.