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.
Father Creen jailed in 2020 for the abuse of two more girls
On Tuesday 17 November 2020 Creen pleaded guilty to seven charges, six of indecent treatment of girls under the age of 14 and one of indecent treatment of females. He was sentenced to 15 months imprisonment, suspended for 2 years after serving 3 months custody.
These charges were in addition to the three-and-a-half years’ jail for 34 sexual offences against 18 young girls, suspended after serving 14 months in the early 2000s
One of the two victims was just nine-years-old when Creen molested her in the confessional. She didn’t understand what had happened at the time, but told one of the nuns she didn’t feel comfortable sitting with Creen because he “had a piece of wood in his lap“.
The other victim, now a 55-year-old woman, read an emotional impact statement in court. Creen molested her six times when she was a child and she would stay home from school to avoid Creen’s “hunting ground” at the local Catholic School in Mount Isa. According to her statement, she once ate glass in order to avoid going to school.
In 1976, she was spending a lot of time in Townsville because her mother was ill. Creen lived in Townsville at the time and started grooming her when she was 10-years-old. He would ask about her repeatedly, which progressed to “firmly hugging, tickling her ribs, and rubbing her back”.
When she started wearing a bra for the first time, he commented lasciviously on it.
He first molested her at a school camp at Lake Moondarra. On other occasions, she was abused in the nunnery and in a friend’s pool.
The 55-year-old tried to tell the nuns, her teachers, and her family, but her mother refused to believe her. In fact, her mother ostracised her from the family because she refused to believe a priest would do such a thing.
In 1981, when she was 16-years-old, her mother invited her to dinner with Creen. She said she wanted to “sort out this misunderstanding” between them. However, later that evening, Creen digitally raped her on top of Castle Rock.
Her mother cut her out of her will before she died in 2007. She died believing Creen was a good man and her daughter was a liar.
More news as it comes.
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Image source: mako.org.au