Abuse victims start Loud Fences campaign in Townsville Diocese

Northwest Star [Mount Isa, Queensland, Australia]

June 5, 2022

By Derek Barry

A former Mount Isa victim of sexual abuse has started a new awareness campaign called “Loud Fences” in the Catholic Diocese of Townsville.

Kathleen Walsh said she started the first loud ribbon fence started at the Cathedral Catholic Church in Townsville with similar plans for Mount Isa.

“Mount Isa was ravaged by child sex abuse especially by peadophile priest Neville Creen with 22 criminal convictions,” Ms Walsh said.

“Yesterday (Sunday) the first 22 ribbons were tied to the fence for the 22 criminal conviction victims and this weekend coming people plan to grow the Loud fence at the cathedral and every Catholic church in Townsville and Mount Isa.”

Kathleen Walsh, now 57, was the 22nd criminal conviction for Creen.

Neville Joseph Creen, then aged 80 plead guilty to all child sex abuse charges in regards Kathleen, from when she was 11-16 years old at St Joseph’s Primary.

He was sentenced on November 17, 2020 at Beenleigh District Criminal Court for changes against her and another victim.

He served three months of a 15-month sentence, which was then suspended for two years.

Ms Walsh said she wanted to raise awareness with the ribbon campaign and she urged other potential victims to come forward to police.

“I decided we need to do a visual reminder, Ballarat victims started this and it’s gone worldwide,” Ms Walsh said.

“A couple of my classmates are going to put ribbons in Mount Isa.”

In 2021 Townsville Bishop Tim Harris admitted Creen was “rotten to the core”.

Creen ministered in Mount Isa between June 1973 and December 1981 and was a scripture co-ordinator to six state schools in Mount Isa.

Creen was still listed as a priest of the Townsville diocese in the annual Australian Catholic directory of 1996, but his name vanished from the 1997 directory and from subsequent editions.

In the first two court cases in 2003 and 2004 Creen admitted that he touched children aged between 5 and 13 sexually when he ministered at the Good Shepherd parish in the 1970s.

Ms Walsh said if victims wanted support, they could also contact her on irishaussiekathleen@gmail.com.