Catholic priest Father Neville Creen sexually assaulted at least 20 children throughout the 1970s.
Creen abused the position of trust he enjoyed as a minister at the Good Shepherd parish in Mount Isa and concealed his crimes from police for more than 30 years before finally admitting in 2003 to sexually touching 20 young girls.
As a popular minister in Mount Isa from 1973 to 1981, Creen endeared himself to local families who hosted him for dinner on several occasions.
Shockingly, some of Creen’s abuses occurred during these visits, and he sexually assaulted other children at church youth camps, during confession and even at a wedding.
The court was also told that Creen would slip his hand under his victims’ clothing to touch them in the genital region while they sat on his lap, often with their parents in the room.
In another instance, Creen sexually abused a five-year-old girl at a youth camp and then again in her grandparents’ home.
In the 1980s Creen was transferred to the Australian Defence Forces as a full-time chaplain. Ironically, he was listed as working on the ‘Character Training Team’ at the Australian Army School of Artillery in Manly, Sydney. He was also awarded a medal for efficient service in the reserve forces.
Creen pleaded guilty to 18 counts of child sex abuse in 2003, but only served 14 months in prison with the remainder of his sentence suspended for four years.
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Image source: mako.org.au