Report: HOF baseball writer accused of molestation

A Hall of Fame baseball writer and well- known Philadelphia sports columnist is facing accusations from four people who say he molested them as children in the 1970s, according to a report.

Bill Conlin retired Tuesday after more than four decades at the Philadelphia Daily News amid reports that the Philadelphia Inquirer was set to publish a story about the alleged assaults.

In its story, posted online Tuesday afternoon, the Inquirer says three women and a man have accused Conlin in "vivid accounts" of groping and fondling them and touching their genitals when they were between ages seven and 12.

The alleged victims decided to speak out in the wake of the child-sex abuse scandal at Penn State, according to Conlin's niece, who said she was molested by Conlin as a child.

Kelley Blanchet, an Atlantic City prosecutor, told the paper of Conlin's alleged assaults that "so many people ... knew about this and did nothing."

Conlin declined comment through his lawyer, the paper said. The lawyer issued a statement in his client's defense.

"Mr. Conlin is obviously floored by these accusations, which supposedly happened 40 years ago," George Bochetto. "He has engaged me to do everything possible to bring the facts forward to vindicate his name."

Conlin, 77, is a widely recognized fixture of sports coverage in Philadelphia and known particularly for writing about the Phillies. He was also a regular panelist on ESPN's "The Sports Reporters" show.

He received the 2011 J.G. Taylor Spink Award, which is awarded by the Baseball Writers' Association of America for "meritorious contributions to baseball writing" and presented at the Hall of Fame.