August 2022

Former Eucharistic Minister convicted of abusing a young boy

A former Eucharistic Minister convicted last month of abusing a young boy is living ten metres away from a primary school, we can reveal.

Bernard McNamee is awaiting sentencing for abusing a young boy several times after a jury at Dungannon Crown Court found him guilty of three counts of indecently assaulting the child.

The 62-year-old pervert, from Fyfin Road, Victoria Bridge, Co Tyrone, groomed his child victim with comics, sweets and chocolate before forcing himself on the child during a period of the 1990s.

McNamee, who gave communion to kids at St Theresa’s Catholic Church in Sion Mills, befriended the child’s family but repeatedly got into bed with the young boy and abused him.

He’s pictured here for the first time after a journalist confronted him at the address he’s bailed to live at until he’s sentenced in September.

Shockingly, the sex beast’s home is just a few metres away from an award-winning Catholic primary school, St Eugene’s.

On Wednesday McNamee – who forced his victim to go through a trial – showed no remorse for his victim when we called at his door.

Instead he had the cheek to bemoan his own situation, feeling sorry for himself.

Creepily, he answered the door wearing a red fleeced top with a local community association badge depicting two young kids playing together.

He also had a statue of the Child Jesus, better known as the Child of Prague, on display in his front window. Pope Benedict XVI said last year of the famous statue that adorns many homes across the world: “The figure of the Child Jesus, the tender infant, brings home to us God’s closeness and his love.”

Last month shocking details emerged of McNamee’s disgusting behaviour during his trial at Dungannon Crown Court.

He had denied three counts of indecently assaulting a boy on dates between August 1991 and January 1993 but was convicted by majority verdict.

In evidence, the victim explained McNamee would visit his parents most weeks and was considered a close friend.

While bringing sweets and biscuits for all the children in the family, the victim felt special as McNamee paid particular attention to him, buying him comics and leaving chocolate bars beside his bed.

McNamee asked the victim to stay overnight at his home, but his mother refused.

However, having been effectively groomed by sweets and comics, the victim believed he would get more if he stayed the night with McNamee and pleaded with his mother to let him go.

After several more refusals, his mother agreed.

McNamee collected the boy in his car and drove him to the home he shared with his mother and brother.

As night fell, boy was taken to a room with both a single and double bed. McNamee told him the victim to sleep in the double and later got in bedside him.

The boy recalled wakening around 2am with an “uncomfortable feeling” and discovered McNamee was fondling his genitals.

Upset, the victim ran to the bathroom.

McNamee’s mother heard this and checked on the victim who claimed to have a sore head and wanted to go home. She told him it was too late and sent him back to bed.

McNamee took him home the next day and the boy never returned to the house again.

However, McNamee continued to call as normal to the boy’s family home, always leaving a bar of chocolate beside the victim’s bed.

During one Saturday visit, the young vicim noticed that McNamee was drinking alcohol. This was strange as the defendant had always insisted he did not drink.

Unable to drive, he stayed the night, sleeping in a spare bed in the victim’s room.

During the early hours the boy woke to find McNamee fondling his genitals while kneeling by his bed.

The victim was distressed and went into his parents’ room, spending the rest of the night with them, but disclosing nothing of what occurred.

A similar incident took place again except in that instance McNamee slept in a spare room. At some point during the night he made his way into the victim’s bedroom and again sexually touched him.

The victim spent the rest of the night in with his parents, complaining of a sore head.

McNamee returned to bed the spare room and left the house the following day.

While there were no further incidents, the victim became concerned for other children in his extended family, warning one not to sit on McNamee’s lap.

After a time the victim disclosed what occurred to a family member, telling them McNamee had “touched him where he didn’t want to be touched”.

Later, he reported the abuse to police and McNamee was arrested.

McNamee denied the allegations during interview and maintained this throughout his trial.

However, after deliberations the jury returned a guilty verdict by majority on all counts.

Agreeing to release McNamee on continuing bail while pre-sentence reports are prepared, Judge Peter Irvine QC warned this was not to be taken as an indication of how he will be dealt with.

Sentencing will take place in September