January 2010

DUP welcomed sex abuser Brian Hutchinson back to party

Brian_Hutchinson

A self-confessed sex abuser has been secretly allowed back into Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) — in the latest scandal to rock the party.

Fruit farmer Brian Hutchinson, 42, was voted in as party treasurer in Armagh even though he sexually assaulted a 15-year-old girl for more than a year.

The married dad of five sensationally quit the DUP in 2002 after his litany of abuse was exposed.

But the Sunday Life newspaper can today reveal that he is back in the organisation in a high-profile position controlling party cash.

A DUP spokesman admitted yesterday: “The Party acted on this matter in 2002

“Mr Hutchinson withdrew from the party and his council position.

“In 2008 he rejoined the party and is the current treasurer of our Armagh branch.

“The Party will be making no further comment on this matter.

Hutchinson — whose late father Dougie helped found the DUP and was once Ian Paisley’s right-hand man — was booted out of the party in September 2002 after his teen assaults came to light.

He received a police caution for indecent assault — which involves admitting your guilt — and was put on the Sex Offenders’ Register for five years.

Hutchinson was voted in as DUP treasurer of the Armagh branch just one year after his name came off the list.

Hutchinson, from Woodview, Co Armagh, pleaded that the matter be laid to rest so he could get on with his life.

He said: “I’ve paid for it and came clean in 2002. That’s all I want to say on my feelings about what happened back then.

“It had a big effect on me and my family and forced me to do some big thinking.

The disgraced unionist said in 2002 that “no sex took place”.

But it emerged he’d been groping his 15-year-old prey for more than a year before he was rumbled.

His systematic abuse only came to light when the under-age girl finally plucked up the strength to tell her mum

After she exposed Hutchinson, he was back behind the counter of his large nursery business in Co Armagh, which he still runs.

He had held his seat on Armagh council for nine years before he resigned.

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