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Longtime Philadelphia Daily News sportswriter Bill Conlin retired Tuesday, the paper says, after Deadspin published a report that the 77-year-old resigned over a forthcoming Inquirer story alleging sexual abuse.
The Inquirer story, published Tuesday afternoon, says four people, including his niece, have accused Conlin of molesting them as children. Conlin’s niece is now a prosecutor; she and the others say they came forward, in part, because of the Penn State revelations, Nancy Phillips reports.
“I can’t even begin to express the shock, sadness, and outrage I feel by what Bill Conlin is alleged to have done,” Daily News editor Larry Platt, who immediately accepted Conlin’s offer to retire, told the Inquirer.
At around 5 p.m., publisher and CEO Greg Osberg sent the following email to Philadelphia Media Network employees:
Today, the Inquirer will publish a story on Philly.com about allegations of child molestation by Bill Conlin, a former sports columnist at the Daily News. There were several very specific claims, from multiple victims and their families, to support our decision to publish this article. We have always taken tremendous pride in the ethical and moral standards we operate from at PMN. I am sickened by these allegations. It is important to me that you know that we have accepted his retirement today. I will be meeting with the department managers this afternoon, and they will in turn, be meeting with you to answer questions.
Conlin’s lawyer told CBS, “Mr. Conlin is obviously floored by the allegations, which supposedly happened 40 years ago. He has engaged me to do everything possible to bring the true facts forward and to vindicate his name.”
Forty years ago, Conlin would have been in his late 30s and writing about the Phillies for the Daily News. Phillips reports that Conlin was warned at the time by the children’s parents, but law enforcement was not notified.
Deadspin’s A.J. Daulerio wrote an in-depth profile of Conlin in August 2009.
Last month, Conlin wrote about the Penn State sexual abuse scandal. He said:
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.