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Raymond Lahey makes his way into the courthouse in Ottawa Friday Oct. 9, 2009.

Adrian Wyld

A new bishop has been named to lead the Catholic church in a rural Nova Scotia community rocked by a child porn scandal two months ago.

Bishop Brian Joseph Dunn has been appointed by Pope Benedict XVI to oversee the diocese of Antigonish, starting early next year.

Bishop Dunn is presently Auxiliary Bishop of the diocese of Sault Ste Marie in Ontario.

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In a statement, church spokesman Father Paul Abbass acknowledged that the community has been deeply affected by the revelation that former Bishop Raymond Lahey is facing child pornography charges.

"While our diocese is facing times of challenge and struggle we are also a diocese with a history of deep faith and working together," Father Abbass said. "It is in this spirit that we continue to seek pathways to healing and rebuilding."

Bishop Lahey was charged Sept. 25 - 10 days after he was detained and questioned by Canada Border Services Agency officers at Ottawa airport.

Bishop Lahey, 69, stepped down as bishop of the diocese in Antigonish, N.S., just before the charges were announced and he has been staying with other priests in Ottawa since he was granted bail Oct. 1.

Police say they found hundreds of files and dozens of videos on Bishop Lahey's laptop after he arrived in Ottawa on a flight from the United Kingdom, many of them showing young males engaged in sex acts. Police warrants say some images show boys as young as eight, though none of the allegations made in the search warrants have been proven in court.

Court documents say border officials flagged Bishop Lahey because he was a man travelling alone and his passport showed several trips to Southeast Asia, Germany, Spain and other areas known for child pornography. The documents also say Bishop Lahey's evasive answers and shifty eyes piqued their interest.

He is alleged to have told one officer he is attracted to young men, aged 20 or 21, and that he had never done anything abusive to a child and would "never have any sexual interest in a person under 18."

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Halifax Archbishop Anthony Mancini will said in a statement he will continue to oversee the diocese until Bishop Dunn is installed at a date to be announced later.

Bishop Lahey is due in court again in Ottawa on Dec. 16.

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