Northern Ireland

Co Tyrone priest and former school president charged with indecent assault

Canon Patrick McEntee
Canon Patrick McEntee

A Co Tyrone priest who requested a leave of absence earlier this year while a serious safeguarding investigation was carried out has been charged with indecent assault against two males.

Court papers show Canon Patrick McEntee (69) from Esker Road, Dromore 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.

The circumstances of the alleged offences are unknown, although it is believed they relate to Canon McEntee’s time in Co Fermanagh.

He is understood to be subject to bail conditions ahead of his appearance at Enniskillen Magistrates Court next week.

Canon McEntee, who is originally from Monaghan, 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.

Previously, the Diocese of Clogher confirmed Canon McEntee had asked for a period of leave "to allow a safeguarding matter to be addressed".

"The Diocese of Clogher has robust safeguarding policies and practices in place. The Diocese of Clogher takes seriously all allegations, suspicions or concerns of abuse," it said.

When asked of the current status given the charges now faced, a spokesperson replied: “Canon Patrick McEntee is on leave while a safeguarding matter is dealt with and will continue to be on leave from ministry until all due processes have been completed.”