Five month old baby rescued in Philippines following Creaven investigation

Three suspects arrested and four other children rescued due to Garda information

Kieran Creaven pictured as he arrived at Leeds Magistrates Court in December 2017.

Kieran Creaven pictured as he arrived at Leeds Magistrates Court in December 2017.

 

A five month old baby was among the children rescued in the Philippines as a result of the Garda investigation into former RTÉ producer Kieran Creaven.

Information gleaned by officers in the Garda’s Online Child Exploitation Unit also led to rescue of four other children aged between seven and 12 along with one young woman.

Three people suspected of involvement in child exploitation in the country were arrested due to information gathered by specialist gardaí.

Creaven (59) of Adelaide Street, Dun Laoghaire, Dublin was jailed for 10 years last week at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court for ten counts of child exploitation, sexual assault and possession of child-abuse material.

He engaged in behaviour “degrading in the extreme” for his vulnerable child victims, who were in some cases being abused for commercial gain, Judge Melanie Greally said.

His offences included travelling to the Philippines where he engaged in the “extreme abuse” of a girl aged between 10 and 12, which he recorded and stored on a USB device.

During this time Creaven was a sports producer for the national broadcaster. RTÉ announced on Sunday that is seeking clarification from the Garda on whether Creaven committed any offences on RTÉ time or used any equipment owned by RTÉ.

The State broadcaster said it was “appalled” to learn the details of the “abhorrent crimes” committed by Creaven and that it dismissed him when he first pleaded guilty to abuse charges in 2017.

During the garda investigation into Creaven, it was established that he was communicating with women in the Philippines using Skype Messenger. Creaven would send money to these women who in return would provide young children for him to sexually exploit via webcam.

He would pay the women using services such as Moneygram, Paypal and Western Union, a Garda spokesman said. On one occasion his credit card was not working and he posted €40 to one of the women.

Members of the Online Child Exploitation Unit were able to use these details to trace the real names and addresses of these women. This information was then passed to the Philippine National Police.

Ongoing child exploitation

On foot of this, Filipino officers searched several premises where they found evidence of ongoing child exploitation. Five children were rescued, including two girls, aged nine and 12, and three boys, aged five months, seven years and eight years.

“The children were identified as children at risk and taken into State care,” the Garda said.

A young woman, believed to be 18 years old, was also rescued and is being treated as a victim of sexual exploitation.

Officers also arrested one adult woman and two adult males on suspicion of associated offences.

However the female child Creaven recorded himself abusing while he was in the Philippines has still not being identified. When he was interviewed by gardaí in 2019, Detective Garda Johanna Doyle “begged” him to provide information which might led to her identification, the court heard. Creaven made no comment.

Earlier this year, while in prison, he met with the detective again and provided some information on the child. Despite this, she has still not been identified by the Filipino authorities.

“As she has not been rescued, it is difficult to conceive she has any hope of a normal childhood, much less a bright future,” Judge Greally said.

Creaven also sexually exploited Irish children via social media platforms such as Facebook. It is understood gardaí are still working to identify some of these children.

Creaven first came to the attention of authorities in 2017 when he was arrested in Leeds as a result of a sting operation by a vigilante group as he tried to meet a child for sexual activity. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment in the UK.