Saturday 24 March 2018

Second teen accused Tom Humphries of assault at Croke Park

Tom Humphries. Photo: Collins Courts
Tom Humphries. Photo: Collins Courts

Luke Byrne, Ken Foy, Conor Feehan and John Downing

Details emerged last night of another alleged child sex case involving Humphries.

The Director of Public Prosecutions is expected to appeal against the leniency of the two-and-a-half year jail stretch given to Tom Humphries for grooming and sexually abusing a teenage girl, it has emerged.

The revelation came as some investigating gardai expressed their "disgust" at the length of the sentence. Some were expecting the paedophile journalist to get 10 years.

"The expectation is that this sentence will be appealed by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP)," said a senior source. "This is very much a realistic expectation."

Meanwhile, details emerged last night of another alleged child sex case involving Humphries.

A second young schoolgirl was allegedly attacked by Humphries in Croke Park, Letterkenny, and a Dublin Airport hotel between March and June 2007.

Senior gardai sources said the nature of these alleged crimes were "very similar" to the offences for which Humphries was sentenced yesterday.

Gardai investigated whether the former journalist had "groomed" the young girl, but the Director of Public Prosecutions dropped the case because it was felt there was not enough evidence to secure a conviction.

Sexual abuse survivor Fiona Doyle branded the sentence "ridiculous".

Ms Doyle's father, Patrick Doyle, was sentenced to 12 years in jail with three suspended in 2015 for raping her, after the original sentence of 12 years with nine suspended was found to be too lenient.

Speaking yesterday to Joe Duffy on Liveline she said: "I'm absolutely sickened, it's so disheartening to hear this day after day that these paedophiles are getting such ridiculous sentences, it's unbelievable.

"It's never balanced against the crime, what he's done was to groom and sexually abuse a young girl, who will be affected for the rest of her life. He gets two and a half years, he could get a third off for good behaviour and remission.

"I hope and pray that the DPP will appeal the leniency of this sentence because it is absolutely appalling, the whole trial was really. I think he should have got life to be honest."

Noeline Blackwell, the chief executive of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre, last night hit out at the "leniency" of the sentence. She called on the State to set up sentencing guidelines in sex crimes.

"This is a lenient sentence in terms of a crime that attracts a life sentence as a maximum penalty," said Ms Blackwell.

"In handing down the sentence, the judge took into account where Mr Humphries is now, and the consequences of his falling from grace, but there seems little consideration for the victim and her family.

"This is a disappointment for us as a group who represent people affected by sexual crimes.

"From what I have read, it seems the accused's fall from grace was the main issue and not the victim, whose childhood has been taken away.

"The impact on the victim appears to be less important than the impact on the accused. This lack of emphasis on the victim is hard to understand."

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has said there is widespread concern about apparently “light sentences” for sex abusers – especially those guilty of child sex abuse.

While Mr Martin did not name Tom Humphries in the Dáil exchanges, he asked the Taoiseach when new legislation to deal with these issues would be presented to TDs.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said he expected the draft law in question to be brought before the Dáil before the end of the current parliamentary term.

Humphries was jailed for two-and-a-half years yesterday after he admitted grooming and sexually abusing a teenage girl.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard how his daughter discovered texts of a sexual nature he had sent to the young girl on an old phone she had asked him to donate to charity.

Forensic analysis showed he ha had exchanged more than 16,000 text messages with the girl over a three-month period at the beginning of 2011.

After this grooming, Humphries met the girl and the abuse escalated to sexual acts over a 14-month period.

Humphries, of Corr Castle, Sutton, admitted four counts of inviting a child to participate in a sexually explicit, obscene or indecent act between January 2010 and March 2011.

The offence comes with a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

He also admitted two counts of defilement of the child at a place in Dublin between December 2010 and February 2011.

These took place when the victim was aged around 16 and Humphries was aged 47.

The charges are sample counts out of a larger number, including five for defilement and dozens for sexual exploitation.

The court heard that Humphries made contact with the girl through his volunteer work with junior GAA teams.

Judge O'Connor said Humphries had cultivated contact of a sexual nature with the teen and was aware of certain vulnerabilities she had at the time.


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