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St. John's Archbishop Martin Currie, pictured in a 2009 interview, says: 'I'm always saddened when these things happen ... because I honestly feel we have been trying our best to put these things behind us.' ((CBC))

The archbishop of St. John's says he is surprised by the latest allegations in a civil lawsuit claiming that the former bishop of Antigonish, N.S., Raymond Lahey, sexually abused a Newfoundland boy during the 1980s.

A civil lawsuit filed by a former resident of the Mount Cashel Orphanage in St. John's claims that Lahey, while a priest there, fondled the young boy outside his clothes and simulated anal sex.

Lahey has been facing child pornography charges in Ottawa since last fall.

"I'm saddened. I'm always saddened when these things happen ... because I honestly feel we have been trying our best to put these things behind us," Archbishop Martin Currie said.

"Any new priest today, even before they are accepted as a candidate, they go through extensive psychological testing, family histories. We do a screening process to eliminate any of them."

Todd Boland alleges he was sexually abused in the early 1980s when he was a nine-year-old living at the Mount Cashel Orphanage, which was closed in 1990 amid a scandal over sexual and physical abuses.

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Raymond Lahey, the former leader of the Diocese of Antigonish, N.S., is living in Ottawa where he is waiting to stand trial on pornography charges.

The lawsuit alleges Lahey would take Boland for rides in his car with the boy on his lap and fondle him.

Currie, who said that the allegations have not been proven in court, added that no child should have to suffer what Boland claims happened to him.

"Sexual abuse is a very serious matter," said Currie. "It not only robs a young person of their youth, oftentimes it robs them of their adulthood, too, because they've been so damaged."

Currie said that when the child pornography charges were laid last fall, he reviewed Lahey's file. He said he found no suggestion that Lahey did anything wrong while he was in Newfoundland.

Lahey, who was born in Newfoundland, went on to serve as the bishop of St. George's in western Newfoundland before becoming the bishop of Antigonish. 

He resigned from his position in Nova Scotia after child pornography charges were laid last September.

Lahey is living in Ottawa, where he will stand trial on the pornography charges.