A priest who terrorised Queensland children throughout the ‘70s and ’80s has been jailed for historic abuse.
A priest who terrorised Queensland children throughout the ‘70s and ’80s has been jailed for historic abuse.

Little girl ate glass to avoid pedophile priest

A notorious paedophile priest who terrorised young girls at a Catholic primary school in Mount Isa throughout the 1970s and early 1980s has been jailed for historical abuse of two further girls during that period.

One of his two additional victims, a 55-year-old woman who was molested six times by Beaudesert man Neville Joseph Creen, 80, was present in Beenleigh District Court to read her impact statement onto the record.

In the course of a lengthy, emotionally charged statement, she told the court she ate glass at age 11 to stay home from her school, Creen's hunting ground, to avoid the perverted priest's attention.

Creen, who was one of the parish priests at the school, was forced to leave the church in 1994 when the whispers about his behaviour became a roar, but it was not until September 2003 he was held to account for the first time.

Beaudesert man Neville Joseph Creen, 80. Picture: Alex Treacy
Beaudesert man Neville Joseph Creen, 80. Picture: Alex Treacy

Creen was sentenced to three-and-a-half years' jail for 34 sexual offences against 18 young girls, to be suspended after serving 14 months.

On Tuesday, he pleaded guilty to an additional seven charges, six of indecent treatment of girls under the age of 14 and one of indecent treatment of females.

His offending against these two further women, who both came forward in the wake of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, occurred between 1977 - 1981, when he left the school.

Defrocked catholic pedophile priest Neville Joseph Creen 63, on 09/09/03. Picture: Phil Norrish
Defrocked catholic pedophile priest Neville Joseph Creen 63, on 09/09/03. Picture: Phil Norrish

His offending against one of the women, who was aged nine or 10 in 1981, involved Creen molesting her in the confessional.

The court heard how the young girl was confused by what had happened and told a nun she couldn't get comfortable sitting on Father Creen because he "had a piece of wood in his lap".

By contrast, his abuse of the second woman was protracted and repeated, beginning shortly after his arrival in Mount Isa and occurring throughout of 1976-77 when she was aged 10-11, followed by a horrible coda in Townsville in 1981.

The court heard the groundwork of this abuse was laid in 1976, when the girl's mother was ill and spending much time in Townsville.

Young girl victim (R) and her sister with the perpetrator Catholic Priest Neville Joseph Creen (C) at a wedding where the girl was molested by Creen. Charges for offending against this victim were dealt with in September 2003. Picture: File
Young girl victim (R) and her sister with the perpetrator Catholic Priest Neville Joseph Creen (C) at a wedding where the girl was molested by Creen. Charges for offending against this victim were dealt with in September 2003. Picture: File

Creen, who was born in Townsville and spent many of his early years there, would inquire solicitously after the victim, which progressed to "firmly hugging, tickling her ribs, rubbing her back" and, when she began wearing a bra for the first time, commenting lasciviously on it.

The first time he molested her was at a school camp at Lake Moondarra.

Further abuse occurred in the nunnery and in a friend's pool, where he digitally raped her.

The girl repeatedly tried to tell teachers, nuns and her mother, none of whom believed her, the court heard.

"How can you say that? He is a good man, he is a priest," the court heard her mother told her.

According to the now 55-year-old's victim impact statement, she became ostracised from most of her family at the instigation of her mother, who refused to believe the priest could have done such evil.

Only her sister and her father believed her, but for the patriarch of the family, the horror of his not being able to protect her from Creen led him to drink himself to an early grave seven years later.

In 1981, when the 16-year-old girl was finally turning her life around and finding happiness at a school in Townsville, her mother forced her to have dinner with Creen during one of the priest's visits and "sort out this misunderstanding between you two".

Reluctantly she went along, but at the top of Castle Rock, he molested her again, inserting two fingers into her vagina.

The victim's mother cut her out of the will when she died in 2007.

She went to her deathbed believing Father Creen was a good man and her daughter was a malicious liar.

Creen was sentenced to serve three months of a 15-month sentence, which would then be suspended for two years.

His sentence was reduced because he had previously been sentenced in 2003 (and again in 2004 when two further women came forward) for what the court viewed as the same course of offending, namely the wanton abuse of young girls at the school.



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