The Philadelphia Inquirer has published a shocking report today in which four people say that legendary Daily News columnist and hall of fame baseball writer Bill Conlin molested them in the 1970s. The accusers, which include his own family members, where between the ages of 7-12 at the time. Conlin has retired from the paper and reportedly fled to his home in Florida where has hired a lawyer to fight the allegations.
"Mr. Conlin is obviously floored by these accusations, which supposedly happened 40 years ago," Conlin's lawyer George Bochetto told the Inquirer. "He has engaged me to do everything possible to bring the facts forward to vindicate his name."
Clearly the Inquirer did not take these allegations lightly. The story is filled with first hand accounts from the accusers who vividly detail the abuses. The allegations range from family members to friends of his son and all happened at different times. One such accuser is his niece, Kelley Blanchet, who is now a prosecutor in Atlantic City.
"This is a tragedy," said Blanchet. "People have kept his secret. It's not just the victims, it's the victims' families. There were so many people who knew about this and did nothing."
Unfortunately, Conlin will not face criminal charges as a result of the allegations. Since the incidents occurred before 1996 and no police or authorities were ever contacted, the statute of limitations has run out. The accounts really are both disgusting and heartbreaking. In more than one case, the children told their parents, but the parents either believed Conlin when he denied the allegations or were too fearful to get their spouses involved. It's tragic really and even worse knowing that no one will pay for this, at least not criminally. Conlin's reputation and professional legacy will obviously be forever stained.
The victims were reportedly inspired to come forward in the wake of the Penn State child molestation scandal involving former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky. In a bit of cruel irony, Conlin had this to say about those who said they would have intervened to stop the Penn State abuses had they witnessed them.
"Everybody says he will do the right thing, get involved, put his own ass on the line before or after the fact. But the moment itself has a cruel way of suspending our fearless intentions."
It would seem that from his own alleged experiences that Bill Conlin was unfortunately correct.
Be sure to read the full story on the Inquirer website. It will make you sick, but the story of these children deserves to be heard.