Priest's Accuser Commits Suicide Cleric Still in Ireland on Sex Abuse Charges

By Margaret F. Bonafide
Asbury Park Press
August 14, 2004

A man who accused a 63-year-old Bay Head Roman Catholic priest of sexually abusing him more than 30 years ago has committed suicide, said police authorities in Northern Ireland.

A press liaison from the Newry Police, County Down, Northern Ireland, confirmed yesterday that the man who had accused the Rev. Patrick Francis Magee of "an act of gross indecency on or toward a child" between Jan. 1, 1965, and Dec. 31, 1969, had killed himself.

The woman from the Newry Police press office said the unnamed victim had taken his life on Aug. 2 or Aug. 3.

Magee, who was pastor at the Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church in Bay Head, was visiting family and friends in Ireland when he was arrested and charged on Dec. 31.

There was no immediate indication of what effect, if any, the suicide would have on the charge against Magee.

The unnamed victim's "sudden death" came after several postponements in the Irish courts where it was being decided if Magee should be tried by a judge or a jury.

Magee, who was free on bail in Ireland after his arrest, was forced to relinquish his passport and has been there since his arrest.

Audra Miller, a spokesperson for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Trenton, said she could not get the information confirmed and was therefore unable to comment.

Since Magee was detained in Ireland, the diocese assigned the Rev. Michael Waites, formerly of St. Denis Church in Manasquan, to serve as interim parish administrator on Feb 6.

Before serving at Sacred Heart in Bay Head, Magee served as a priest for 20 years at St. Martha's Church in Point Pleasant.


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