Case of priest accused of historic sexual abuse to transfer to crown court for trial

The Irish News [Belfast, Northern Ireland]

January 15, 2024

A case in which a Co Tyrone priest is accused of historic sexual abuse against two males, one of which allegedly dates back over 40 years, is to transfer to crown court for trial.

Canon Patrick McEntee (69) from Esker Road, Dromore who requested a leave of absence last year while a serious safeguarding investigation was carried out, is charged with indecently assaulting a complainant between 1980 and 1981.

He is further alleged to have twice indecently assaulted a second complainant on dates between 1988 and 1989.

On first appearing before Enniskillen Magistrates Court Canon, McEntee spoke only to confirm his identity and that he understood the charges against him.

No details surrounding the circumstances of the alleged offences were disclosed during the short hearing although it is understood they relate to Canon McEntee’s time in Co Fermanagh.

At the most recent court sitting a prosecuting lawyer informed the court a decision has been taken for the case to proceed on indictment.

The case has been adjourned until February 12 for a committal hearing during which Canon McEntee is expected to be returned for trial at crown court.

District Judge Alana McSorley remanded him on continuing bail of £500 and ordered residence to be at his current address and no other.

He is also banned from all contact with the complainants and any person aged under 16.

Originally from Monaghan, Canon McEntee joined the staff of St Michael’s College, Enniskillen in 1997 teaching religious studies and sitting on the board of governors.

He was also college president between 1994 and 2000, moving on to take up the post of parish priest at St Davog’s Church in Dromore, Co Tyrone in 2001, where he has remained until his recent leave of absence.