Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of March 15, 1999
Local priest faces abuse charges
By RAMON GONZALEZ
WCR Staff Writer
An Edmonton priest has been charged with sexually assaulting two young boys who were visiting him from Ireland.
Father Patrick O'Neill, a priest with the Edmonton Archdiocese for more than 30 years, is facing two counts of sexual assault and two counts of sexual interference.
He appeared in court March 2 and reserved his election and plea on the charges.
O'Neill, 63, is currently in custody at Alberta Hospital. He is to appear in court again March 16.
The charges stem from a November 1998 complaint about O'Neill filed in Ireland by two young boys.
O'Neill had brought the two boys over from Ireland as visitors in July 1994.
The complainants, who were 13 at the time, allege O'Neill sexually assaulted them "by way of fondling" during their month-long stay in Edmonton, said police spokesperson Kelly Gordon.
Edmonton city police investigated the allegations and charged O'Neill Feb. 24.
O'Neill grew up in Edmonton and was ordained a priest in 1960. He first served in Edmonton and then in various smaller communities such as Galahad, Drayton Valley, Red Deer and Holden.
Father Mike McCaffery, the archdiocese's chancellor, was away on holidays and could not be reached for comment.