Philly Sportswriter Bill Conlin Retires Amid Child Molestation Accusations
Three women and a man said that they “were molested as children by BILL CONLIN, a Hall of Fame baseball writer and Philadelphia Daily News columnist,” according to Nancy Phillips of the PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER. The four accusers, in “vivid accounts,” said that Conlin “groped and fondled them and touched their genitals in assaults in the 1970s, when they were ages 7 to 12.” Conlin retired yesterday from the Daily News, where he “had worked for more than four decades.” GEORGE BOCHETO, Conlin’s attorney, said, "Mr. Conlin is obviously floored by these accusations, which supposedly happened 40 years ago. He has engaged me to do everything possible to bring the facts forward to vindicate his name." Prosecutors in Gloucester County, Pa., who “took videotaped statements from the four last year say they could do nothing because assaults that occurred before 1996 fall outside the statute of limitations.” Daily News Editor LARRY PLATT, who “immediately accepted” Conlin's offer to retire, said, "I can't even begin to express the shock, sadness, and outrage I feel by what Bill Conlin is alleged to have done." Philadelphia Media Network CEO & Publisher GREGORY OSBERG, whose company owns the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Daily News, wrote in a message to employees: "There were several very specific claims, from multiple victims and their families, to support our decision to publish this article." Conlin joined the Daily News in '65 and “was its Phillies beat writer from 1966 until 1987, when he became a columnist.” He gained a “national profile as a commentator on the ESPN program ‘The Sports Reporters,’ and the Hall of Fame honor secured his reputation as a leading voice on baseball.” Conlin was awarded the J.G. Taylor Spink Award this year. Baseball Writers Association of America Secretary-Treasurer JACK O'CONNELL, whose organization selects the Spink award winner, said that the group “would take no action.” O’Connell: "The allegations have no bearing on the award, which was for his work as a baseball writer" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 12/21). USA TODAY’s Nicole Auerbach notes Conlin retired “hours before The Inquirer posted its story online” (USA TODAY, 12/21). In St. Petersburg, Hobson & Steinle note the Inquirer story “contains graphic descriptions of the alleged abuse” (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 12/21). In N.Y., Jere Longman writes under the header, “Philadelphia Sportswriter Accused Of Child Molestation” (N.Y. TIMES, 12/21).