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'I thought it was my failing': Former footballer Richie Sadlier reveals he was sexually abused as a child

Appearing on RTÉ’s The Late Late Show, the popular broadcaster said for years he blamed himself for what happened.

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

Appearing on RTÉ’s The Late Late Show, the popular broadcaster and former Irish soccer star said he blamed himself for what happened for years.

“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. 

He said his abuser was giving him treatment for a sports injury at the time. The man is now deceased.

“I would play along with his little nice guy act afterwards,” he said.

He told presenter Ryan Tubridy that he didn’t tell his friends or family at the time.

Source: The Late Late Show/YouTube

Sadlier said for a long time he was determined no one would find out.

Speaking about what happened, he said: “I almost gave him a free pass.”

“Why didn’t I stop, why didn’t I run? Why didn’t I hit back? Why didn’t I tell someone? Why did I go back? I tormented myself with those questions for years,” he said.

“My interpretation of what happened was, this was my failing,” said Sadlier. 

My thoughts were completely bonkers about the whole thing.

Sadlier said he was very confused and afraid when in the room with his abuser. 

“My life back then, football was everything for me,” he said. 

Speaking out 

He said he made various attempts to speak about it over the years. 

Sadlier said he raised it at a training session as a teenager, where one of the adults asked him about the treatment he was getting for his injury. 

He told the adult that he had to get naked for every session, and mentioned some of the details. 

Sadlier said the adult found it “amusing” and alerted another person to the story, and it was treated as a joke.

“I better laugh along too,” Sadlier thought at the time. 

He said he also told a friend when he was on a night out one evening where drink and drugs were involved. Sadlier said he was told never to say it to anyone. 

The former footballer said he ended up telling his Mum, stating that she was “amazing”. 

In attempt to deal with it, he went to see a therapist in his twenties, where he told her what had happened. 

“She booked another session and I couldn’t go back,” he said, stating that he wasn’t ready.  

Following the abuse and in his retirement from sport, Sadlier said he was filled with self hatred and disgust for himself, and turned to drink and drugs.

When asked why he was speaking out now, he said:

“I am in a pretty good place in my life.”

He added that he had come to terms with a lot of it and felt there is a usefulness in talking about these things. 

Sadlier said he gave up alcohol at age 32. He got married in May of this year. 

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