Retired school principal charged with sexual abuse over three decades

Patrick Harte (80) is accused of assaults from 1967 to 1995

A retired school principal has been charged with 90 counts of sexual abuse of 20 boys in Dublin over almost three decades.

Patrick Harte (80) appeared before Judge Treasa Kelly at Dublin District Court.

He is accused of 83 indecent assaults, one attempted indecent assault and six sexual assaults from 1967 to 1995.

It follows an investigation by the Divisional Protective Services Unit at Kevin Street Garda station.

Detective Garda Colleen Gallagher gave Judge Kelly a list of the offences, and she told the court that the accused “made no reply to charge after caution”.

He was then handed a copy of each charge sheet.

The Director of Public Prosecutions directed trial on indictment in the circuit court.

Most of the offences allegedly happened at Sancta Maria Christian Brothers primary school on Synge Street, Dublin.

Judge Kelly asked if he was making a bail application.

Defence counsel John Griffin, instructed by solicitor Padraig O’Donovan, said not at this stage.

He told the judge that his client consented to be remanded in custody.

However, the barrister added that a bail application was possible on the next date.

Counsel said he had been furnished with a “very large bail pack” of garda objections, adding, “which requires some time to go through and I need to put to him”.

Harte, from Glendown Park, Templeogue, Dublin, dressed in jeans, a grey sweater and wearing a face mask, remained silent during the hearing.

The former teacher, who later became a principal at the school, has not yet indicated how he will plead.

Detective Garda Gallagher asked to be given 48-hours notice if the accused intended to apply for bail. Judge Kelly remanded him in custody to appear again on Monday.

Prosecutors need to complete the book of evidence before he can be returned for trial. Realistically, the judge said, it would not be ready for the next court appearance.

She also granted legal aid after noting his statement of means and that there was no objection from gardaí.