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Chorister from Co Antrim who was subject of BBC documentary charged with child sex offence

Nigel McClintock featured in a special BBC documentary entitled Choirboys which tasked him with building a world-class choir from scratch

Nigel McClintock

Nigel McClintock

Sunday World

A choirmaster who once performed in front of the Pope in Rome has been charged with a child sex offence.

Nigel McClintock, the subject of a three-part BBC 1 NI documentary in 2010, was at Belfast Magistrates Court this week charged with sexual communications with a child.

The 50-year-old acclaimed organist and conductor, from Albert Road, Carrickfergus, Co Antrim, is accused of committing the offence in April this year.

McClintock, who studied at the Royal College of Music, was not required to appear in person but during a short hearing at Belfast Laganside Courthouse, a police officer told the court they could connect him to the charge.

The exact wording of the charge states that he “for the purpose of obtaining sexual gratification, intentionally communicated with another person... and the communication was sexual or was intended to encourage (name removed) to make (whether to you or to another) a communication that was sexual, and (name removed) was under 16 and you did not reasonably believe that (name removed) was 16 or over contrary to section 22A of the Sexual Offences (NI) Order 2008”.

He is yet to enter a plea and the case was adjourned until later this year.

McClintock featured in a special BBC documentary entitled Choirboys which tasked him with building a world-class choir from scratch to perform at St Peter’s Cathedral on the Falls Road in an attempt to improve the dwindling congregation.

As musical director he also took the choir to Rome to perform in front of Pope Benedict XVI inside the Vatican in 2010.

According to a publicity press release from the BBC at the time, Nigel McClintock and his assistant scoured Belfast’s schools to source raw singing talent and turn them into bona fide choristers.

Nigel McClintock

They said: “Over the course of the TV series, viewers will see their hours of rehearsal finally pay dividends as the choir makes its mark not just in Ireland, but across Europe.

“One highlight for the choir, and our documentary team, was at Easter when the cathedral’s elaborate ceremonies were televised live across Europe.

“The choir hardly had time to catch their well-tuned breath, when the boys were asked to sing at a memorial service in Parliament Buildings, Stormont, for the late Polish president.

“And before they headed at the end of June to face the biggest challenge of all – singing for Pope Benedict XVI inside the Vatican – they squeezed in a performance with the Irish Tenors, embarked on intensive fundraising, sat music exams, attended master-classes and celebrated quite a few birthdays.”

Nigel McClintock said at the time: “The choir is a unified, wonderful body of people. Each and every one of them contributes so much, and they’re almost like an extended family in a way... and they’re all very talented.”

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