Legendary baseball columnist accused of molesting children

PHILADELPHIA — Baseball Hall of Fame writer Bill Conlin has been accused of molesting four children during the 1970s, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Tuesday.

Conlin, who has been a fixture in the Philadelphia sports scene for nearly 50 years, is accused by three women and one man, who claim the legendary columnist fondled them when they were between the ages of seven and 12.

The 77-year-old Conlin retired abruptly Tuesday from the Philadelphia Daily News, where he had worked since 1965.

"This is a tragedy," said Conlin's niece, Kelley Blanchet, who said he molested her when she was a child. "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."

Blanchet told The Inquirer that she and the others told their parents about the abuse decades ago, but no one contacted police. She said the parents instead issued warnings to Conlin and opted to avoid contact with him in the future.

"I'm really sorry that I didn't do something more at the time," said Barbara Healey, whose son and daughter told her that Conlin molested them.

"I was going to kill him, I was so furious," said Blanchet's father, Harry Hasson.

"He swore to me that he just touched her leg. Then all of a sudden, he started crying," Hasson recalled. "He said, 'I swear to God, I just touched her leg.'"

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

Conlin served as the Philadelphia Phillies beat writer from 1966 to 1987, before becoming a columnist. He also appeared frequently on ESPN's "The Sports Reporters."

The Baseball Writers' Association of America honored Conlin in May with the 2011 J.G. Taylor Spink Award.

Share This Story