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Tuesday 15 October 2019

Sadlier reveals he was sexually abused as a teenager

Richie Sadlier pictured in 2012. Picture: Sportsfile
Richie Sadlier pictured in 2012. Picture: Sportsfile
Luke Byrne

Luke Byrne

Football pundit Richie Sadlier has revealed he was sexually abused as a child.

Mr Sadlier (40) has for the first time spoken out about how, while undergoing treatment for a sports injury, he was assaulted by the man treating him.

"I was sexually abused when I was a young lad. I was 14 years old and it was over a period of about six weeks," he said, speaking on 'The 'Late Late Show' last night.

"I would play along with his little nice guy act afterwards," he said, adding that he didn't tell his friends or family at the time.

The popular broadcaster spoke about how he blamed himself for what happened.

"My interpretation of what happened was, this was my failure," he told host Ryan Tubridy.

"I almost gave him a free pass and this is a weird thing to explain."

He said he tormented himself with questions about why he didn't run and why he went back to the treatment.

"My thoughts were completely bonkers about the whole thing.

"My life back then, football was everything for me," he said. "I never really caused any bother to anyone."

Mr Sadlier said he was very confused, silent and afraid when in the room with his abuser, who passed away a number of years ago. He said, later looking back on what happened, he would ask himself "what the f*** were you doing?"

Mr Sadlier said he made various attempts to speak about it over the years. At one time he told an adult at a training session, who treated it like a joke.

On another occasion, he told a friend at a party who told him to never tell anybody about what happened.

He turned to alcohol and started taking drugs after retiring from football at the age of 24 due to injury. Mr Sadlier said that going to therapy eventually helped him and he stopped drinking when he was 32.

While out walking one day he told his mother, who he said was fantastic. He said he decided to talk about it now because he was in a "pretty good place" in his life and was ready.

Irish Independent

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