Former Irish Times sports journalist Tom Humphries outside the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court this morning

RTE reports:

A teenage girl who was sexually exploited and abused by former sports journalist Tom Humphries has said she was left depressed and suicidal by the ordeal.

The Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard the former Irish Times journalist began texting the girl when she was 14 and eventually engaged in sexual acts with her when she was 16.

He had made contact with her through his work with camogie teams.

The text messages continued for more than two years.

At one point, 16,000 text messages were exchanged during a three-month period.

Humphries and victim exchanged 16,000 text messages, court hears (RTE)

Tom Humphries exchanged more than 16,000 texts with young girl, court told (Irish Times)


137 thoughts on “16,000 Texts

          1. MoyestWithExcitement

            He’s saying that ‘dirty old man’ is a relatively light hearted handle to give him. Wolf whistling young girls passing by your house is enough for the ‘dirty old man’ label. The term is often used in an almost joking fashion. ‘Sexual predator’ is a little harded to jokingly call someone. He preyed on a 14 year old child. It’s beyond ‘dirty old man’.

        1. realPolithicks

          That’s it exactly Moyest, I wouldn’t have thought it really needed any explanation but you never know what you’re going to get with Harry.

          1. Harry Molloy

            it definitely wasn’t clear but sure we’re only throwing around small comments from our phones, sometimes my comments lack clarity too.

          2. MoyestWithExcitement

            “it definitely wasn’t clear”

            It definitely was clear. It’s your fault you didn’t understand, not his/

  1. Cian

    For context: 16,000 texts would be enough to send the entire text of the first 3 Harry Potter books and half the 4th.
    …or most of the Lord of the Rings.

  2. Smith

    Dirtbag, dirty old man etc. doesn’t cut it. He’s a paedophile. Important to name it. Let’s just hope a long prison sentence awaits.

    1. martco

      I agree
      The folks @ BS towers inexplicably removed a polite & carefully crafted sentence I wrote above where I explained what would happen next if it had been my daughter

        1. Cian

          Technically, paedophile is attraction to pre-pubescent children. It depends on the 14-year-old.

          I’m not defending anyone’s actions – just being pedantic!

          1. Nice Anne1

            No, it doesn’t. It doesn’t “depend” on anything. He is a pedophile. Someone who sexually abuses children.

          2. scottser

            technically, a peadophile is a lover of children, in it’s most benign definition. someone who wants to have sex with children is a pederast. someone who grooms a vulnerable person for sexual gratification is a sexual predator.

          3. Cian

            “This is not the place for nuance”
            Why? We can only communicate if we have a shared language. And having a shared language relies on us using the same words for the same concepts. If someone misunderstands a word then they can neither clearly express their ideas to another – nor understand someone else’s ideas.

            Nuance is the key to understanding.

            Would you call an 18-and-one-day-old man lusting after his 17-and-364-day-old girlfriend a paedophile?

            Again, just to remain clear – I’m NOT defending what this guy did – it was wrong – I’m commenting on the language that is being used.

          4. Pat Kenny's wife

            Cian they deleted my comment where I called you out on your annoying pedantry but my point was you’re on the Internet son, and moreover you’re on Broadsheet, just look at the tenor of the commenters here, it’s all lock him up and throw away the key, yet if it was Dara quigley who had done this people would be saying oh but she was mentally ill etc, it’s like the worst collection of white van men, daily mail readers and pub bores in the world all gathered together – does nuance work down your local or on your local building site?

          1. Casey_online

            Sigh…. in Ireland, ANYONE under 18 is defined as a child:

            The age of consent is 17 which is stupid but there you go.

            Therefore anyone who has sex with a person under 17 is having sex with someone defined under the law as a child. Therefore they are a pedophile.

            I find it worrying that you are so keen to redefine what this pedo is. Have you got a vested interest?

          2. Cian

            Yes, the law defines a child.
            It does not define ‘paedophile’.

            Is a 17-and-one-day-old woman having (consensual) sex with her 16-and-364-day-old boyfriend a paedophile?

          3. Casey_online

            I find it worrying that you are so keen to redefine what this pedo is.
            Have you got a vested interest?

          4. Cian

            For the avoidance of doubt, as I’ve been asked three times. I do not have any vested interests in this topic.

            I am not trying to redefine anything. I believe my understanding of the word paedophile is accurate. Other people are using it in a very broad fashion – which (IMO) undermines the word.

            @Casey_online: Now will you answer my question please:
            Do you think a 17-and-one-day-old woman having (consensual) sex with her 16-and-364-day-old boyfriend a paedophile?

          5. Listrade

            Cian, I get the point you’re trying to make, but there is an icky side to that argument in that it is used by those who abuse post pubescent children to separate themselves from those who abuse younger children. Whatever about semantics, it’s an argument associated with a group of abusers.

            Nobody is saying that your example is a paedophile that I can see. The term is being applied to not just those who abuse or have sex with the underage, but particularly those who are predatory, exploit their position of authority and set out to groom a child into a sexual act.

            I’m pretty confident the term grammatically correct here considering it began when she was 14 and the evidence currently being presented. I’m pretty confident that the term is not correct when applied to late teenagers where there age is separated by a few days having the hots for each other.

            I get your point, wrong case for it, wrong circumstances and it’s an argument that has icky associations.

          6. Nigel

            My understanding is that age of consent is arbitrary, since any cut-off point is by definition going to potentially have and-a-day or but-a-day added to it, and children do mature at different rates. However, it is not random, since we generally do tend to think think there is a point where a young person assumes the rights and responsibilities of adulthood and for legal purposes it is necessary to fix that point in order to achieve clarity and consistency in law. (And ‘they’re way more mature than their age’ is a typical predator justification.)

            That ‘pedophile’ may have a common everyday usage that does not reflect the legal or even dictionary definition is just a fact of life with a living and evolving language, but having said that, it can be worthwhile to have a reminder of what the actual definitions and distinctions are. People can take it wrongly, though, since at one point there were abusive priests who made a big deal out of the fact that technically they were ephebophiles rather than pedophiles in an effort to minimise their crimes.

          1. Chris

            Is a Peado isn’t a Peado? Sigh. Can we just agree that this story is nothing like Beauty and the Beast, which is a lighthearted tale with a healthy message.

          2. The Ghost of Starina

            you really seem to have a vested interest in defending adults having sex with teenagers, Cian. anything you’d like to tell us?

          1. Pat Kenny's wife

            So long as we can agree there are plenty female rapists out there potentially preying on our kids

    1. postmanpat

      That’s one text every 5 minutes and 25 seconds during hours that ones awake. It takes me that long to write a text and I’m 2 decades younger than this auld fart.

  3. Casey_online

    I know it is not a popular viewpoint but I look at stories like this and I think of my own daughter and feel a massive rage. This because I am afraid that such evil will attempt to manipulate them too and I won’t be able to do anything about it. I know, I should be angry for anyone who is targeted by one of these sickos but empathy starts at home.

    We can watch and educate and warn our children but the onus should not be on the child to defend themselves from these people or the parent to prepare them to be able to do so. So the question arises whose responsibility is it to protect our children? Not arrest after the fact, not provide counselling after the crime is committed, how do we prevent this happening?

    1. The Ghost of Starina

      Encourage your daughter to say “no”. Children (esp girls) are taught from an early age not to cause trouble, not to be bossy, not to displease the grownups. It even comes down to little things like when a kid doesn’t want to kiss gross Auntie Gertude goodbye and we make them do it anyway — that teaches them a lot about what they should accept from other people.

      I’m 100% not saying this girl asked for it, deserved it, didn’t resist hard enough – I’m saying girls are taught a lot of little things about bodily autonomy and trusting adults — and maybe they’d be less psychologically overwhelmed by pedophiles like this absolute creeper if we gave them the right set of emotional and psychological tools.

      1. Casey_online

        I agree and we are very mindful of encouraging our children to insist on their bodily autonomy being respected. They don’t have to kiss or cuddle anyone if they do not want to. What makes this approach really lovely is that when they show physical affection, we know it is the real deal and not something they feel they have to do out of some sort of social pressure.

        But that is not enough….. if it were there would be no preying on children and teens by these despicable excuses for pond scum. It still happens. More worryingly, the conversation changes from how to prevent these manipulative monsters from inflicting themselves on children to how the children/parents are to blame because we never taught our children how to exert themselves.

        The onus should always be on how to stop the perpetrator from carrying out crimes rather than finding new ways to blame the victims or restricting children from living their lives because of what might happen to them.

    2. postmanpat

      Here’s a lesson in child safety: Presume sport coaches are all perverts. Especially if they are overweight wrecks. I mean come on!! “I like to coach girls camogie” , “I coach little boys” (!!!!!) you may as well be saying ” I DJ at school discos ” . It doesn’t mean all coaches are creeps but tell your kids not to be left alone with them. Car lifts , last one to leave the locker room etc. Use a buddy system. There are perverts everywhere! I was almost enrolled in swimming lessons when I was a kid through a guy my dad knew but my overprotective mother thought I was too young. A few years after there was all these allegations made against the dirty animals running the swim club and one guy fled the country. I was one decision away from a very different life. It happened in the early eighties. My ma told me years later. Thanks ma!

      1. ahjayzis

        ” Presume sport coaches are all perverts. Especially if they are overweight wrecks. I mean come on!! “I like to coach girls camogie” , “I coach little boys” (!!!!!) you may as well be saying ” I DJ at school discos ” ”

        That’s a really sad way to look at the world.

        1. Diarmuid

          postmanpat’s comment reads like a longer version of a Donald Trump Tweet – ignorant, insulting comments with an anecdote thrown in for good measure.

          Do you presume that all teachers & childminders are perverts too? Especially the overweight ones (and whoever you consider a wreck)?

          If you have kids pat, make sure you let the coaches of your local clubs know what you are presuming about them – I doubt they’ll be long telling you where to go and giving you a copy of their child protection clearance which you can read while coaching your kids in your back garden.

          1. postmanpat

            my god! You really cant disparage sports with the plebs, its like criticizing the priests in the 1950s here!. Child protection clearance. From the guards? Because they are so trustworthy!!!. I don’t care if my kids don’t excel at sports. Its just a game. Most of the kids that want to go professional don’t even make it. Personally, I don’t see the point in being yelled at by a fat man who is unfit himself when just wanting a kick about. I wasn’t saying I would point at my kids coach accusingly saying “I’m on to you”. I would just let my kid know that there is absolutely no reason why she needs to be left alone with a coach behind closed doors, or have a coach lay a finger on her. absolutely none. And if they were ever asked or put in that situation for whatever reason they should tell me. All good parent would tell there kids the same thing. Predators like Fatso Texto Identify the one kid who seems to have not gotten that advice from disinterested parents.

      2. anne

        “presume all sport coaches are all perverts”… “I mean come on “I like to coach girl’s camogie”

        How ridiculous. My boyfriend coaches teenage girl’s camogie. He’s great with them IMO and he’s well liked by the girls.

        By the way coaches these days are not allowed to be left alone with kids.. the buddy system is in place.
        You can’t give girls or boys a lift home after a match for instance unless there’s more than 1. You can’t be left in the car with have to drop 2 or more off at the same place.

          1. postmanpat

            Teacher aren’t allowed to have sex with students either but guess what? That’s no good it you don’t tell your kid that too. A pervert will disobey those rules and its one persons word against the other. As I said above, good parents let there kids know what is appropriate or not and can do so without explicitly saying what might happen to them. Predators will single out the one kid that they know has disinterested parents/guardians. A dedicated predator has plenty of resources to suss this out. Seeing which parents show up to practice plus level of interest the parent is showing. Single parent? Mother? widowed? divorced?. age, health, number of siblings? What is the educational level & intelligence of the parents ? What is their employment situation? Is the single parent distracted by work, romantic relations? etc. The clues are all around. Gossip and a little detective work can go a long way. Jesus , priests used to have a confession boxes ,ran the schools and where able to profile entire towns and look what happened! These guys are highly intelligent but also cowards. The Lion doesn’t catch the unluckiest gazelle, it catches the weakest one.

  4. LeftyMcLeft

    Can BS report who the 2 people that wrote letters of support for him? A chief sports Sunday Times writer and a well known sports star?

  5. gorugeen

    The manner in which he was caught (his teenage daughter discovered the texts to her friend on his old phone) must have caused unimaginable distress to his family. They’re often forgotten in these cases. I truly hope all his victims find peace.

  6. Guy Bague

    The number of texts: It’s all relative. How many did he send to others by comparison.
    The content and the reason: That is not relative and the crux of the issue.

    But 16,0000 is a lot. It’s almost like you’re need to be paid by the word to keep going. Assume each text is 12 wrods…
    Let’s assume 90 characters per message. 16K X 90 = 1,440,000 characters. Assuming 10 characters make up each word (dems big words) , that’s 144,000 words.

    1. Cian

      Dems awful big words

      You wrote 438 characters above; 82 words = 5.3 characters per word (including spaces). this is more normal for English. If u use txt speech it’ll b a lot less.

    2. rotide

      You seem to be having difficulty with the word ‘exchanged’?

      He didn’t write all 16,000 texts.

      And before I get jumped on , I’m not excusing anything here, merely pointing out that he wasn’t texting an inanimate object. The 16000 refers to the number of texts both parties sent.

      1. Cian

        true – but if we assume that they were both involved it is still 8,000 texts each, or 90 texts a day. *each*.

        Or a text + reply every ~11 minutes (waking hours) as postmanpat said above.

        1. Nice Anne1

          So what? What he did was still wrong. Full stop.
          No matter what level of he sent/she sent will change that.

        2. rotide

          Wheareas men tend to keep it all to one text. Not always but generally.

          Of course he could have been bombarding her with texts, who knows.

          1. Casey_online

            So you are saying that the girl likely sent him the majority of the texts because women send more texts(huge generalisation) than men who bundle their messages in 1 (huge generalisation)

            Have you seen the texts – do you know this for a fact?
            IF, if it was true, so what? He is still a PEDO that deserves to be roasted in hell
            He is still a PEDO that hid from the law in a mental health facility
            The messages on his phone were worrying enough for his wife and children to turn in evidence against him

          2. rotide

            Mate, All I’m saying is that this subject makes people lose the run of themselves and forget how to use language.

            People seemed to think he sent 16,000 messages and be fixated on that as if it was somehow worse than abusing a teenage girl. People above are saying that all sports coaches are perverts (huge generalisation), people above have no interest in nonmeclature and are happy to throw all sex offenders into the same bag.

            Some people have even forgotten there is an ‘a’ in PAEDO.

          3. MoyestWithExcitement

            “it’s becoming impossible to have a discussion around here”

            Says a man who further up the thread thought the sentence “he’s not a dirty old man, he’s a sexual predator” actually “absolved” him of the label “dirty old man”….oh and then that man accused the OTHER guy of being unclear when the simple English sentence was explained to him further.

          4. Clampers Outside!

            Requesting clarification appears to be some sort of admission of some assumed guilt by twit commenters on here.

            There was a time when fellow commenters could wear their ignorance on their sleeves and not be shouted down by Muppets who take higher ground to spittle back in the comments and make assumptions about the motivations in asking for clarification… like some sort of psychic thought police.

            Give it a rest Moyest

          5. Pat Kenny's wife

            How do you know he hid from the law in a mental health facility? Is it your contention that a person in need of medical treatment should not receive it if accused of a crime?

  7. RuilleBuille

    Massive admiration to the wife who, when alerted, grabbed his other two mobiles and handed them over to the Guards.

    1. Daisy Chainsaw

      Absolutely, and for believing the victim, not blaming her. The day of “Stand By Your Man” is over. Let the cheating, raping, baxtard swing in the wind.

  8. snowey

    he is a horrible person, I’m not sure what redemption there can be and has damaged (hopefully not ruined) the lives of his victims and both families. No doubt his wife and kids have suffered too.

    also through his actions (and others sadly) cast a shadow on the many lovely people who volunteer with kids sports..

  9. Nice Anne1

    I am glad your mum looked out for you but we cannot keep children tied to the idea of something happening to them if they are in the company of an adult. That will destroy their faith in other people for life.

  10. Spaghetti Hoop

    Agree, a predatory paedo that caused so much distress to that girl and her family. Over to justice now.

    Something I noted here during this (largely hushed) story of the past five years was the high esteem his work was held amongst sports-lovers. I wasn’t a reader but I gathered his journalism was damn good. I know of a similar guy who was brilliant and inspiring at his job but engaged in dark, illegal practices in his spare time that eventually exposed him for being a sick *****. Same conversation only this weekend with friends about artists of the past who’s work we love but who’s personality traits, attitudes and actions make us guilty for admitting to like the work. I’m not talking about Saville here by the way. I just thought it an interesting point; can you like the work and not the creator?

      1. postmanpat

        *cough* *cough* Bowie *cough* *cough* Stephen Tyler *cough* *cough* Led Zeppelin *cough* *cough**cough* *cough*The Who*cough* *cough**cough* *cough*

    1. Pat Kenny's wife

      I never really liked his writing either , though I did read some of it, I often found it cloy and unpenetrating

    2. Andrew

      I didn’t read him much but some of his stuff on Rugby was really odd and bitter. He hated rugby and rugby people. Generalised a lot. Which for an ‘esteemed’ journalist seemed a little off

  11. Casey_online

    I’m not your mate.

    You are acting like one who has lost the run etc with your unproven guess that the girl sent most of the texts because, women eh?

    The point about the sports coaches and the viability of keeping children away from sports
    (and lone adults) was well refuted by multiple posters.

    You used to be a steady hand for calling out inconsistencies and BS. Now you’re just contrary without substance.

  12. martco

    was it not part & parcel of what Saville did during the day job tho, self fulfilling i.e. the job provided him with his access to his potential victims, the better he got at the day job = more targets simple as that

    I have the unfortunate personal trivia tidbit of having met Saville personally. Thankfully only vague memories, my sis used to attend the CRC, he’d was over to raise £££ for them

    1. Spaghetti Hoop

      I assume that’s to my comment. Yes, the job facilitated the crimes. As does priesting, sports-coaching and scouting to name but three. I am exploring a notion, not condoning these criminals by any means. I am just curious of the attitudes of our sports-redeaders here who acclaimed the man’s work.

      1. martco

        unfortunately I can’t say I’ve any particular recollection of any of his writings, not mad keen GAA fan.

        but for me if I was a fan of an artist like a guitarist for example & it emerged proven that he’d been doing something dark & harmful to others it would be a sickener & I would want to erase him.
        It’s the Michael Jackson question isn’t it?

      2. rotide

        Didn’t Lestrade just write a column that nicely intersected this?

        He was a great sportswriter, he probably still is if he got a chance to be published which is highly unlikely. He’s also about to be a convicted paedophile. That doesn’t erase the fact he was a good sportswriter.

        John Lennon is still a great musician. Floyd Mayweather is still the greatest boxer of his generation. Their transgressions and crimes don’t lessen their talents.

        1. martco

          yes but I think what Spag is getting at is how would you yourself personally react

          could & would one personally remain a fan of the work after the proof/fact emerges? I personally would not love it anymore

          if X turned out to be a paedo then I would def drop any songs or any riffs belonging to X consciously as best as possible from my repertoire & dump albums. but that’s me.

          1. rotide

            I certainly haven’t overly missed his writing since he’s been replaced by journos who are as good (Mary Hannigan fills that space really well I think) and superceded to a certain extent by the sports shows and podcasts.

            It’s an interesting one alright. Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis don’t seem to have suffered too badly considering they did more or less the same thing as Humphries. I’d guess that a lot of rock bands from the 70’s to the present aren’t quite blameless in this regard also.

      3. Janet, I ate my avatar

        I have to admit I was a fan of Arthur C. Clark until I heard about his shenanigans and then I did go off rereading his books

          1. postmanpat

            He holidayed on his private pedophile island in Sri Lanka. The changing Sri Lankan government quashed any ongoing investigations into his activities because of his celebrity status. Its not on Wikipedia because it “never happened”.

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