Former scout leader jailed for abusing boys

Michael Creagh
Michael Creagh

A former scout leader jailed today (Tuesday) for sexually abusing three boys had previously been imprisoned for molesting boys while he was a priest, a court heard.

John Michael Creagh, 79, of Douglas Drive, Orrell, was in charge of the 37th Ormskirk St Anne’s Scout Group when he abused the young scouts in the 1970s.

For your own selfish sexual desires you have cast a blight over the lives of some of those boys

Judge Norman Wright

After he left Ormskirk he was ordained as a priest and became deputy house master at Douai Abbey School in Berkshire - a boarding school run by Benedictine monks.

He was jailed in 1992 for nine months after admitting that while working there he committed an offence of gross indecency and two of indecent assault after targeting a 12-year-old boy.

Sentencing him to four years imprisonment today Judge Norman Wright told Creagh: “For your own selfish sexual desires you have cast a blight over the lives of some of those boys.

“This was a gross breach of trust. You were the scoutmaster charged with the welfare of the young scouts in your care and you totally abused that position.”

Judge Wright said he had carried out the offences against the boys for his own personal sexual gratification.

“Your conduct has had a profound affect on them and relationships that they sought to enter into in their adult lives.

“One cannot help but be moved when I read about the predicament that they found themselves in - you the scoutmaster in a position of trust, behaving that way, and they could not say,” he said.

Liverpool Crown Court heard that Creagh had been a “highly regarded individual within the community” and “ingratiated himself” into the families of the children he molested.

He indecently assaulted three scouts aged between 13 and 16 and he was in his 30s.

David Potter, prosecuting, said Creagh first grabbed the first scout inappropriately over his clothing when he was around 13 and they were alone in the scout hut.

Creagh then followed up on his attacks at his then home in St Helens Road, Ormskirk, showing the boy pornographic magazines and touching him sexually.

The victim did not report Creagh to his parents as he did not think he would be believed, later telling police: “You can’t tell anyone and you have to live your life with it.”

Mr Potter said: “Although some 40 years ago, he said there has hardly been a day when he hasn’t thought about the times when this defendant did this to him.”

Creagh took the second boy on a camping holiday in Wales, when the victim thought other children would be present, but ended up sharing a tent with just Creagh.

The pervert had a stash of pornography with him and asked the victim “whether he was a bad boy” before sexually assaulting him.

The court heard the frightened teenager spent the rest of the night wrapped tightly in his sleeping bag trying to fend off Creagh but felt too embarrassed to tell anyone.

The paedophile attacked the third scout after grooming him by buying him records and a watch and taking him to the cinema.

He sexually assaulted the victim after asking him to help out at the scout hut on Saturday afternoons, touching him inappropriately while touching himself.

The court heard how the boy has undergone counselling as an adult and said every relationship he has had was “ruined” as he struggled to be intimate.

Creagh made no comment when arrested and interviewed last year, but pleaded guilty to five charges of indecent assault.

After he left Ormskirk he was ordained as a priest and became deputy house master at Douai Abbey School where he abused a 12-year-old boy.

David Watson, defending, said Creagh was then sent on an eight-month residential sex offenders course, run by the Roman Catholic church.

He said Creagh had carried out good work in the community, but accepted this was overshadowed by his crimes.

Mr Watson said both Creagh and those who supported him, including his boyfriend in the public gallery, would say his remorse was genuine.

Creagh was ordered to sign the Sex Offenders Register for life and imposed an indefinite Sexual Harm Prevention Order and barred him from working with children.