Father Michael Creagh was found guilty at Reading Crown Court on 17th November 2017 of two counts of child abuse offences whilst he was employed as a House Master at Douai Abbey Monastic Boarding School in Woolhampton. The school used to be run by a Benedictine Monastery but has now closed down.
Creagh is a prolific offender who has a history of similar offences. In 1992 he was convicted and sentenced to nine months in prison for sexually assaulting a pupil. In 2016 he was convicted at Liverpool Crown Court for sexually assaulting three boys between 1973 and 1977, whilst he was running the St Anne’s Scout Group. The Court found that Creagh had threatened and enticed the victims in order to continue the abuse and keep the boys quiet. Creagh pled guilty to theses offences and was sentenced to four years in prison. The Judge also made a Sexual Harm Prevention Order, to last indefinitely, and Creagh was put on the Sex Offenders Register for life. He has now been sentenced to a further five and a half years imprisonment to run concurrently with his 2016 conviction. In her sentencing remarks on 17th November 2017, the Judge explained that the parents had entrusted the school with their children and that it was Creagh’s ‘sole duty to look after the boys who boarded at the school and ensure their wellbeing’, adding that he was ‘plainly in a position of authority and trust’ and that there had been ‘a gross breach of trust’ in relation to the victim.
The offences had been aggravated by the fact that Creagh had abused the vulnerability of the victim and the trust that had been put in him. The victim was a child that had been preyed upon by an adult who had his own sexual desires in mind. She said there was ‘no doubt that Creagh’s role at the school and the fact he was a priest’ contributed to the victim remaining silent and feeling complicit in the abuse. Further, Creagh had shown no remorse and denied the offences meaning the victim was required to give evidence at court.
She recognised the profound impact the abuse has had on the victim and praised his bravery in coming forwards again despite an unsuccessful investigation in 2002.