Veteran Philadelphia Daily News sports columnist Bill Conlin has abruptly resigned in the face of allegations of child molestation.
The allegations were reported in Daily News’ sister paper, the Philadelphia Inquirer.
According to the paper, three women and a man say they were fondled and groped by Conlin when they were children, decades ago.
They told the Inquirer they reported the incidents to their parents, some of whom confronted Conlin. But none of the adults went to police.
Conlin, 77, is in Florida and was unavailable for comment. His attorney George Bochetto gave a statement in a brief telephone interview.
“Mr. Conlin is obviously floored by these accusations, which supposedly happened 40 years ago,” Bochetto said. “He’s engaged me to do everything possible to bring the facts forward to vindicate his name.”
Bochetto said neither he nor his client have been contacted by law enforcement, and there is no litigation associated with the accusations. He said Conlin left the paper so its reputation would not be harmed by the controversy.
Although several of the alleged victims gave detailed videotaped statements to prosecutors, the Inquirer reported, statutes of limitations rule out prosecution.
One of the accusers, Kelley Blanchet, is a niece of Conlin and now works as a prosecutor in Atlantic City. She told the Inquirer that when she attended the funeral of Conlin’s wife in 2009, she learned that he had grandchildren and became concerned for their safety.
She then decided to tell some of her relatives what her uncle had done to her, the paper reported.
The Inquirer story did not include any allegation that Conlin had behaved inappropriately toward his grandchildren.
Executives at the two papers held a news conference yesterday. Gregory Osberg, CEO of Philadelphia Media Network, which owns the two papers said he was “sickened by these allegations.”
Daily News editor Larry Platt said he’d had a brief phone conversation with Conlin Tuesday in which he accepted his resignation. Platt declined to say if they’d discussed the allegations, saying only that it was a “painful conversation.”
Click here to read the report from the Philadelphia Inquirer.