Undated Copypic of 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 (C)    P3//The /client/victim has done an /interview with /AAP and clearance hs been obtained from her for use of this photo###     Creen received a three & half year prison sentence - crime qld 34 child sex offences between Jun 1972 & Dec 1981 headshot pedophile pedophialia
Undated Copypic of 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 (C) P3//The /client/victim has done an /interview with /AAP and clearance hs been obtained from her for use of this photo### Creen received a three & half year prison sentence - crime qld 34 child sex offences between Jun 1972 & Dec 1981 headshot pedophile pedophialia

Push for govt to change sex abuse bystander laws

THE State's Attorney General has pulled up short of saying the government will make the newly introduced Bystander Laws retrospective.

The Townsville Bulletin's major investigation Predator at the Pulpit, into paedophile priest Neville Creen revealed the laws are too little too late for victims of historical institutionalised abuse, like Kathleen Walsh, who was sexually assaulted by Creen for years.

In an explosive interview and a heartbreaking 'In Her Own Words' piece Ms Walsh detailed the devastation of having told a number of nuns and a priest about the abuse she suffered at the time. About how Creen went on to abuse other children, even after she had told two nuns about the abuse inflicted upon her.

Neville Creen sexually assaulted Kathleen Walsh for years in his time as a priest.
Neville Creen sexually assaulted Kathleen Walsh for years in his time as a priest.

In September 2020 it became an offence to fail to protect a child from child sexual offences and failing to report a belief of child sexual offences.

The law has the ability to be retrospective, but the person needs to have told someone about the abuse after September last year. That person can then be charged with an offence if they do not report the abuse, or if they fail to act to protect the child.

Kathleen Walsh, 14.
Kathleen Walsh, 14.

For both offences under the Criminal Code (Child Sexual Offences Reform) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2020, 229BB and 229BC, the offenders, if found guilty, could spend years in prison.

Ms Walsh wants this to change, she believes those she told who did nothing are just as responsible for the abuse she continued to suffer and that of other children.

In a statement Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Shannon Fentiman said the matters were "horrific."

"The offences in this matter are horrific and all Queenslanders, especially children, deserve to be safe and protected," Ms Fentiman said.

"That's why we have made significant reforms to Queensland's Criminal Code and implemented recommendations from the Royal Commission's Criminal Justice Report."

A spokeswoman for the Attorney-General said they would continue to look at what they could do to protect children.

Hon Shannon Fentiman, Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Minister for Women and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence. Photographer: Liam Kidston.
Hon Shannon Fentiman, Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Minister for Women and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence. Photographer: Liam Kidston.

"Under the recommendations from the Royal Commission's Criminal Justice Report we made amendments to retrospectively apply the section 229B offence of maintaining a sexual relationship with a child to unlawful sexual acts committed prior to the inception of the offence in 1989, including the maximum penalties that applied at that time," the spokeswoman said.

"We will continue to look at what more we can do to protect victims and hold perpetrators to account."

The Townsville Bulletin asked Ms Fentiman's office if she believed the three months Creen spent behind bars for his horrific abuse of Ms Walsh met the community standards.

"We recognise that our community has expectations when it comes to sentencing.

That's why the Palaszczuk Government committed to giving Queenslanders a stronger voice in sentencing issues through the reinstatement of the Queensland Sentencing Advisory Council (the QSAC).

Neville Creen outside court. Picture: Alex Treacy
Neville Creen outside court. Picture: Alex Treacy

"Another recommendation from the Royal Commission that we have implemented is to ensure sentencing of offenders for historical child sexual offences are handled in accordance with sentencing standards at the time the sentence is imposed - not at the time of offending.

"While parliament determines the maximum penalty for offences, it is for the courts to exercise their judicial discretion and determine what sentence to impose in the particular circumstances of each case, subject to any available appeal."

Originally published as Push for govt to change sex abuse bystander laws

Kathleen Walsh. Picture: Shae Beplate.
Kathleen Walsh. Picture: Shae Beplate.

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