Kieran Creaven (59) will be sentenced on December 3
A former RTÉ producer who sexually abused and exploited young children videoed himself sexually abusing a child in the Philippines, a court has heard.
In a letter of apology to Dublin Circuit Criminal Court today, Kieran Creaven, who is no longer employed by RTÉ, said he was glad he was arrested because it pulled him back from the “dark and disturbing spiral” his mind had entered.
The 59-year-old former sports producer pleaded guilty to offences in the UK in 2017.
He was arrested in Leeds as a result of a sting operation by a vigilante group when he tried to meet a child for sexual activity.
He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment.
Gardaí charged him last year with a number of offences relating to child exploitation, sexual assault, and possession of child abuse material.
Creaven, of Adelaide Street, Dún Laoghaire, Dublin, pleaded guilty to 10 counts, including four counts of child exploitation, two counts of sexually assaulting a child and four counts of child pornography. The offences took place in Ireland, the UK and the Philippines in 2014 and 2017.
He has been in custody since October last year and appeared via video-link for his sentence hearing today.
Detective Garda Johanna Doyle told Kerida Naidoo SC, prosecuting, that Creaven's Dublin home was searched in 2017 when he was arrested in the UK and a number of devices were seized.
Gardaí also made enquiries with online companies including Facebook, Skype and PayPal.
Two videos were found on a memory card, which showed Creaven videoing himself sexually assaulting a girl between the age of 10 and 12 in the Philippines in 2014, the court heard. At times, another adult present took over the recording.
Creavan was identifiable by his “distinctive tattoos” and his face was clearly visible in parts of the videos, which were 15 minutes and six minutes long respectively, the court heard. The videos were shot on October 12 and 16, 2014, and involved the same child.
A baby under the age of one was present on the first occasion and could be seen lying on the same bed as the child Creaven was abusing. At one point, Creaven could be heard saying: “Oh God, she is beautiful.”
He also asked the child to look at him as he sexually assaulted her.
Gardaí found records of a Skype chat between Creaven and an account in the Philippines in November 2017.
During this chat, Creaven paid €40 to view a child's private parts. He later told the adult operating the account that he was having trouble with his credit card and he asked for her address to send cash to.
Gardaí discovered Creaven also engaged in sexual conversations with three children on Facebook in Ireland in June and July, 2017.
He told one of the children: “After seeing your pic again, I'm a fair few years older than you, so probably shouldn't be messaging you. My intentions are 100% naughty, ha.”
He sent the children sexual images, graphic stories and videos. One of the girls – then aged 16 – was in the care of Tusla at the time, the court heard.
A USB key that was seized from Creaven in the UK was found to contain child abuse images and videos, including one involving a two-year-old.
There were no victim impact statements from the children in court.
Det Gda Doyle told the court that when Creaven was interviewed by gardaí in 2019, she “begged” him to give her more information on who the child in the Philippines was.
He made no comment during that interview.
However, Creaven met with the detective in prison earlier this year and provided her with more information on the child. Despite this, she has not been identified.
Creaven has no previous convictions apart from the two convictions he received in the UK in 2017, the court heard.
Lorcan Staines SC, defending, said his client was remorseful and has shown insight into his offending.
His arrest was a “watershed moment” for him, he said.
Creaven has been receiving therapy and seeing a psychologist to examine “how he fell into very significant criminal behaviour and sexualised criminal behaviour”, Mr Staines said.
“He clearly was in the Philippines in order to engage in sexual activity of this type,” he said.
Creaven chose not to take bail in October 2020 and has been co-operating with gardaí and the Probation Service since he returned to Ireland after serving his UK prison sentence, counsel said.
His marriage broke down when his offences came to light and he is now divorced.
“He has lost his marriage as a result of his offending behaviour,” Mr Staines said. “He has lost his career as a result of his offending behaviour. He has lost his reputation as a result of his offending behaviour.
“He has been and will be vilified in public for the appalling crimes he has committed.”
In his letter to the court, Creaven said he wanted to offer his sincere apologies to those he hurt, particularly the girl in the Philippines for his “abhorrent behaviour”.
“I know I have committed despicable acts,” he wrote.
Creaven said he was glad he was arrested in 2017.
“It pulled me back from the dark and disturbing spiral that my mind had entered and which was slowly taking over my life,” he said.
He had lost touch with his “moral compass”, he added.
“I'm responsible for my acts and I accept I must pay for my crimes,” he wrote.
Judge Melanie Greally will sentence Creaven on December 3.