Friday 23 March 2018

'That girl has got a life sentence that nobody's going to talk about' - abuse survivor Fr Brian D'Arcy on Tom Humphries' sentence

Fr Brian made the comments on RTE's Cutting Edge

Fr Brian D'Arcy, host Brendan O'Connor, Mairead Ronan and Alison O'Connor on Cutting Edge, RTE One
Fr Brian D'Arcy, host Brendan O'Connor, Mairead Ronan and Alison O'Connor on Cutting Edge, RTE One
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

Fr Brian D'Arcy addressed the issue of former journalist and convicted paedophile Tom Humphries' sentence of two and a half years on Wednesday night's Cutting Edge.

Humphries, who was a sports writer for the Irish Times, has been jailed for the defilement of a teenage girl.  He was also sentenced on Tuesday to two years in respect of the sexual exploitation of the same girl.

The sentences, handed down by Judge Karen O’Connor at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, are to run concurrently.  However, there has been widespread criticism of the length of the sentences.

A former victim of abuse, as a child and later as a teenager, Fr D'Arcy said that heated conversation about the jail sentence is missing the point.

Father Brian D'Arcy on Cutting Edge
Father Brian D'Arcy on Cutting Edge

"We can take sentences and we can isolate them," he said, "There's only one person important in this story and it isn't Tom Humphries.  The one person that is important in this story is the person who was abused by Tom Humphries and that's the one we have to look at.  There is no ifs, buts or anything else.

"That girl has got a life sentence that nobody's going to talk about.  And believe you me it is a life sentence and nothing can change you from that.

"There is no sentence you can put in jail that would be enough for doing that and defiling a young person.  There is no sentence in jail that would come to next or near it."

Fr Brian, who appeared on the Cutting Edge panel with RTE presenter Mairead Ronan and journalist Alison O'Connor, added that focusing on Humphries' jail sentence is "missing the point".

"Tom Humphries is a man who is also having a life sentence of his own making and it will remain with him for the rest of his life," he continued.

"He has destroyed a young girl's life, he has destroyed his profession, he has destroyed his own family most of all and he has destroyed the friendships he had with many people.

"Sympathy is not what Tom Humphries needs now.  It is a realisation of what he has done to himself, and the sentence he has given to himself."

Regarding the affect the news of Humphries' crimes and sentencing is having on victims of abuse, he added, "This conversation is absolutely destroying them.  Even those of us who have tried to face it in life, this has been a really tough week because it brings the whole abuse back."

He concluded, "People screaming and shouting at each other - you're talking about something you don't know about.  Only those who have suffered abuse, are trying to deal with it, been destroyed by it, knows what it's about."

Cutting Edge airs at 9.35pm every Wednesday on RTE One.

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