Hurler stays silent over Humphries sup­port let­ter

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - - News - Wayne O’Con­nor and Ea­mon Dil­lon

THE prom­i­nent for­mer hurler who wrote a let­ter of ref­er­ence sup­port­ing child sex abuser Tom Humphries de­clined an op­por­tu­nity to speak with jour­nal­ists yes­ter­day on his way to at­tend a Gaelic games func­tion.

He was ap­proached by jour­nal­ists en route to the func­tion but chose not to stop his car as he made his way into the car park where the event was be­ing held. Me­dia had been in­vited to at­tend the event last week but in­vi­ta­tions were later can­celled.

Jour­nal­ists were then told the event was pri­vate and not open to mem­bers of the public. Event or­gan­is­ers said there had been a num­ber of un­re­lated can­cel­la­tions and in light of these, it was de­cided to make the event pri­vate.

Only se­lected play­ers and their fam­i­lies were able to at­tend.

The GAA player who wrote one of two let­ters in sup­port of the for­mer Ir­ish Times jour­nal­ist ar­rived shortly before 12pm.

He also de­clined to stop when he left the func­tion some hours later.

Tom Humphries pleaded guilty last March to two counts of en­gag­ing in a sex­ual act with a girl un­der the age of 17 and four counts of sex­u­ally ex­ploit­ing the same child, but last week Dublin Cir­cuit Crim­i­nal Court heard fur­ther de­tails of his of­fences.

These in­cluded send­ing 16,000 text mes­sages to his vic­tim over a three-month pe­riod and send­ing her pho­to­graphs of his gen­i­tals.

The court was made aware of two char­ac­ter let­ters that were sup­port­ive of the for­mer jour­nal­ist. These were writ­ten by the for­mer in­ter-county hurler and by The Sun­day Times sports writer David Walsh. Mr Walsh has also not spo­ken pub­licly but con­cerns have been ex­pressed by Rape Cri­sis Net­works Ire­land about the prac­tice of sub­mit­ting ref­er­ence let­ters in such cases.

The Sun­day Times in London said it would not be com­ment­ing on the mat­ter while the case is on­go­ing.

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