Raymond Lahey was carrying on his laptop images of young boys engaged in sexual acts when he tried to re-enter Canada, according to a search warrant application released Thursday.
Some of the boys appeared to be as young as eight years of age, it states.
Father Lahey resigned as bishop of Antigonish the day after he was charged with possessing and importing child porn. The charges were not public at that point and he cited personal reasons for his decision.
A spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Halifax said Thursday night that she could not say whether Father Lahey had been on church business during his trip.
The search warrant application reveals that multiple red flags went off after the 69-year-old cleric flew from London to Ottawa last month. He was singled out for secondary search at the airport for no fewer than five specific reasons, one of them repeated travel to countries known as sources of child pornography.
The former cleric is also alleged to have hesitated when a border guard asked whether he was carrying a laptop. He also drew attention as a solo male traveller and the guard said his tone of voice changed during questioning and his eyes were evasive.
This information is included in a search warrant application filed last month by Ottawa police detective Dan Melchiorre, who was seeking a full examination of the laptop, as well as two cellphones and multiple memory sticks and memory cards.
According to police, Father Lahey revealed his laptop password to the border agent doing the secondary search at the airport.
That agent is alleged to have flagged three images she found on his computer. The document states that one of these images depicted a young male without pubic hair being fondled by another young male.
On the basis of that image, Father Lahey was suspected of possessing child pornography and police were summoned.
Father Lahey told police investigators at the airport that he was attracted to young men in the range of 20 or 21 years, the search warrant alleges. Police were uncertain whether the images found initially could definitively be said to depict minors and allowed Father Lahey to leave. They seized his electronic equipment for further search.
Det. Melchiorre states in his search warrant application that a subsequent search of the laptop turned up five more images appearing to depict minors. Some of these were alleged to involve fellatio and mutual fondling. The participants were all males and appeared to range in age from eight to 12.