Tom Humphries' sentence draws heavy criticism online

The disgraced Irish Times sports journalist received a prison sentence of two and a half years for the defilement of a child, with a further two years for child exploitation, which will run concurrently.

This sentence has immediately sparked a mass of criticism from a wide number of media figures, most notably Matt Cooper, presenter of Today FM's The Last Word, who wrote,

"Rarely shocked, but I am by the leniency of the Tom Humphries sentence considering what crimes he committed against a child."

Responding to a comment by Sinead Ryan of the Irish Independent, in which she cited the fact that the typical sentence is "around 3.5 years, with half suspended", Cooper continued,

"Which is also wrong. But facts in this case, which we've heard, are shocking and damage done enormous. This sentence is outrageously light."

In agreement, INM Group Business Editor Dearbhail McDonald said, "I spent 10 years covering the courts & i'm actually speechless at this sentence."

Sharing further details from Dublin Central Criminal Court, Irish Daily Star crime correspondent Mick O'Toole quoted Judge Karen O'Connor as she gave the reason for this sentence:

Sunday Times sports writer David Walsh and coach of Clare's senior hurling team Donal Og Cusack, who both acted as character references for Humphries have drawn considerable criticism too.

The Irish Times have also received a backlash for the publication of a story today on Humphries, which was written Johnny Watterson.

Titled first, 'Tom Humphries: Acclaimed sports writer with controversial views', before being changed to 'Tom Humphries: A sports writer who became a national figure', sports writer Ewan MacKenna quickly condemned the fact that the piece featured no reference to his paedophilia until paragraph thirty-eight:

Later re-written to include an immediate reference to his sexual abuse, a screen-grab comparing both versions has since been posted by Rhona Tarrant of Storyful and RTE:

Humphries was first arrested in 2012, after it was discovered during 2011, that he had been sexually abusing a teenage girl over the course of a two year period.

It was widely reported that Humphries' daughter had uncovered a series of text messages between him and the girl. Later, during the police investigation, it was revealed that Humphries first made contact with the girl in 2008 when she was aged 14.

It has also been reported that the two exchanged approximately 16,000 texts over the course of three months. Included among these were a number of explicit images. They had also engaged in a number of sexual acts when she was 16 years old.

According to reports, Humphries tried to take his own life. He has since spent some time in psychiatric care.

 

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