Philadelphia Daily News columnist Bill Conlin, a Hall of Fame baseball writer, has resigned from the newspaper after allegations of sexual abuse came to light on Tuesday.
According to a lengthy story by Nancy Phillips in the Philadelphia Inquirer, a sister paper, Conlin abused four children under the age of 13 back in the 1970s.
Even if the reports are true, Conlin cannot be prosecuted because the statute of limitations has expired. None of the victims came forward publicly when the abuse is purported to have taken place.
Daily News editor Larry Platt told the Inquirer that he "can't even begin to express the shock, sadness, and outrage I feel by what Bill Conlin is alleged to have done."
Publisher and CEO Greg Osberg sent a memo to staff obtained by MediaWire stating that he is "sickened" by the allegations and the he will hold meetings to discuss the matter.
Conlin, a former contributor for ESPN's "Sports Reporters" who received the J.G. Taylor Spink Award just this year, has declined to comment. His lawyer George Bochetto told the Inquirer Conlin has asked him to do "everything possible to bring the facts forward to vindicate his name."
The victims are three women and one man, with two of the four being brother and sister.
The Jerry Sandusky scandal at Penn State appears to have played a role in their decision to come forward. The alleged victims said they wanted to highlight the injustice of a statute of limitations on sex crimes, which prevents prosecution so many years later.
Kelley Blanchet, a niece of Conlin’s and one of his accusers, said she also opted to come forward when she found out her uncle, with whom she has had little contact, has grandchildren.
"This is a tragedy," Kelley Blanchet told the Philadelphia Inquirer. "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."