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Monday 15 October 2018

Cusack sorry for hurt caused by letter for pervert Humphries

Donal Og Cusack. Photo: Sportsfile
Donal Og Cusack. Photo: Sportsfile

Hurling star Donal Og Cusack has broken his silence to confirm he wrote a character reference for convicted paedophile Tom Humphries, saying: "My intention was to help a human in a dark place."

Earlier this month, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard in shocking detail how the former Irish Times journalist exchanged more than 16,000 text messages with a teenage girl he groomed and sexually abused.

Humphries pleaded guilty earlier this year to six offences, dating from 2010 and 2011, including the sexual exploitation and defilement of a child.

His appearance in court earlier this month was for sentencing, which was adjourned.

Sick

Sex offender Tom Humphries. Photo: Brian Lawless
Sex offender Tom Humphries. Photo: Brian Lawless

The court heard from the young woman in a victim impact statement, in which she said that she went through stages of feeling "physically sick" and that she had lost her childhood.

The court also heard there were two character letters of support for Humphries - one from a former sportswriter colleague and another from a prominent former GAA player.

The Sunday Times journalist David Walsh has confirmed that he is the sportswriter, and now Mr Cusack - a coach with Clare and a former All-Ireland- winning goalkeeper with Cork - has confirmed that he is the GAA player.

"I am the sportsman referenced as having written a character reference in the Tom Humphries case," Mr Cusack wrote in a statement posted to Twitter.

"I absolutely condemn the crimes he has committed.

"I cannot begin to imagine the terrible suffering of the victim.

Justice

"I apologise for any hurt or offence caused by my action. My intention was to help a human in a dark place who asked me for help.

"I showed lack of judgment in this situation for which I am genuinely sorry.

"I will not be making any further comment and wish to let justice take its course."

Mr Cusack has been approached a number of times in recent weeks for comments after it emerged that he wrote the letter.

The court heard that there was a testimonial from a "well-known sportsman", who detailed Humphries' volunteer work in the GAA and expressed "shock and disappointment" at his offending.

Rape Crisis Network Ireland has expressed concerns about the practice of submitting reference letters in such cases.

Humphries will be sentenced on October 24.

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