Cusack ‘sorry’ for writing Humphries reference

Clare hurling coach and former Cork hurling goalkeeper Donal Óg Cusack has apologised for writing a character reference supporting convicted paedophile Tom Humphries.

Cusack, who failed to respond to repeated requests from the Irish Examiner last week to comment on the case, said he provided the reference to “help a human in a dark place” who had asked for help.

But he said he accepts now his decision showed a lack of judgment. He used Twitter to break his silence on the issue on Saturday night.

He confirmed he was the former prominent GAA player who, along with a former sportswriter colleague, had been referenced in court the week before last as providing character references for Humphries.

Last weekend, Sunday Times chief sports writer, David Walsh, confirmed that he was the sportswriter who had supported Humphries.

Cusack confirmed via a tweet on Saturday night that he is the former sportsperson involved.

“I absolutely condemn the crimes he has committed. I cannot begin to imagine the terrible suffering of the victim,” Cusack said.

“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 to place.

“I showed a 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.”

Humphries, 54, the former Irish Times sports writer, pleaded guilty earlier this year to six offences, dating from 2010 and 2011, including the sexual exploitation and defilement of a child.

He is due to be sentenced on October 24.

News of the two character references emerged during a sitting of Dublin Circuit Criminal Court the week before last which heard how Humphries had groomed and sexually abused the teenager.

The court was told the first contact between the two was initiated by a text message from Humphries to the victim when she was 14.

The text contact persisted “almost daily” for over two years, with gardaí able to prove that about 16,000 text messages were sent over a three-month period alone.

The court also heard how Humphries had collected the then 16-year-old from her school on a Sunday and went to his apartment where he sexually abused her.

The victim described how the events have made her “physically, emotionally and mentally ill” and caused her to “block out childhood memories” in an effort to also “block out all the abuse”.

Last weekend, Walsh defended his decision to write the character reference. He said the victim had suffered terribly from this crime but he said he wrote the personal character reference for Humphries because they had been friends for 30 years. “And, despite the serious wrong he has done, I could not abandon him,” he said.


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