Longtime Daily News sportswriter and columnist Bill Conlin has retired amid allegations of child sex abuse.
Four people say Conlin molested them back in the '70s. Among the alleged victims are Conlin's niece and nephew.
Conlin's attorney says he retired out of respect for the paper he has worked at for decades, not guilt.
"You can imagine the surprise and literally the mortification that takes place when this type of thing comes out of nowhere like that," said George Bochetto, Conlin's attorney.
The Daily News says it didn't know anything about the allegations until Tuesday.
Joining "Good Day" on Wednesday morning was Philadelphia Inquirer staff writer Nancy Phillips, who wrote the article published about the Conlin accusations.
It seems the recent stories about former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, who is charged with molesting 10 boys over 15 years, had some impact on Conlin's accusers coming forward after 40 years.
"What these women and this man have said to me is that they think it is important in the wake of Penn State and Syracuse to have this be part of the public discourse, that these things do happen, that they're so often hushed up. And that, in their case, no one reported it to law enforcement. Thus, today now that they're coming forward and saying, 'This happened to us,' there's nothing that the law can do."
New Jersey did not have a statute of limitations on sex crimes. One was enacted in 1996, but it's not retroactive. Prosecutors looked at the incidents but have said unless other people come forward there is nothing that the law can do, Phillips said.
Some of the victims did not know each other. The niece who alleges she was abused said she reached out to other family members after Conlin's wife died, and that's when a relative introduced her to others who she says had the same experience.
It was a delicate story to report, given that the two papers have the same owners although they are separate entities.
Phillips said that when she first phoned Conlin, "He did not want to talk to me directly. … He did actually hang up the first time … I called him. And then, through an email message, he referred me to his lawyer, who of course has said that he was floored by these allegations and that he will do everything possible to vindicate his name."
Conlin also wrote a column about the Sandusky case, in which he said that he was surprised that all of these people were saying they would have confronted him or stepped forward in the same situation, but that so often what happens is people do not step forward.
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