Sunday Time journalist David Walsh has explained why he gave a character reference for Tom Humphries.
Humphries, a former Irish Times sportswriter, will be sentenced later this month after this week pleading guilty to several counts in relation to the sexual abuse of a young girl.
Walsh is quoted in today's Sunday Times saying that he 'could not abandon' someone who had been a friend for 30 years.
The young girl whose trust Tom betrayed has suffered terribly from this crime. I wrote a personal character reference for Tom because we have been friends for 30 years and, despite the serious wrong he had done, I could not abandon him.
The Irish Independent's Shane Phelan reported during the week that Walsh's testimonial letter had referred to Humphries as 'hugely regarded' and 'hugely respected'.
It was also said that a second character reference, written by a 'well-known former inter-county hurler', had also been handed to the judge.
Five years ago, in his book 'Seven Deadly Sins: My Pursuit of Lance Armstrong', Walsh had referred to Humphries as 'the most talented sportswriter I've ever read. A fine man, too.'
The book was published in December 2012, 20 months after allegations regarding Humphries had been made public by the Sunday World.