Daily News writer retires amid sex abuse claims

PHILADELPHIA - December 20, 2011

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that four people made claims that 77-year-old Bill Conlin groped and fondled them in the 1970s, when they were from ages 7 to 12.

"We had seven people go on record. Four alleged victims and three family members to back up their stories," said Stan Wischnowski, and editor with the Philadelphia Inquirer.

One of the accusers was Conlin's niece, Kelly Blanchet an Atlantic City prosecutor, who says her father at one point confronted him about the accusations.

She was also quoted as saying that "allegations of sexual assault and cover up at Penn State prompted painful memories for the alleged victims."

All four victims tell similar stories. "I am sickened by these accusations," said Greg Osberg, who is in charge of Philadelphia Media Networks, which runs the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Philadelphia Daily News.

Conlin, a Hall of Fame baseball writer and Philadelphia Daily News columnist, retired Tuesday from the paper, where he had worked for more than four decades.

Tuesday his editor was asked to describe the mood in the newsroom of the Daily News.

"A sense of outrage and a sense of sadness for the victims," said Larry Platt.

Conlin has not responded to the accusations made against him but he has hired a lawyer.

His attorney, George Bochetto, said his client was "obviously floored by these accusations" and "has engaged me to do everything possible to bring the facts forward to vindicate his name."

Three of the accusers have also hired an attorney, who said they don't want compensation.

Their lawyer said that the alleged victims are done going public about it and that they just wanted to get the word out to save other children who may be at risk.

Prosecutors in Gloucester County, N.J., said no charges could be filed because assaults that occurred before 1996 fall under the statute of limitations.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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