Another sex abuse scandal has hit the news this week, this time it involves a sports reporter for the Philadelphia Daily News. Bill Conlin has been writing for the Daily News since the late 1960s and was recently awarded the J.G. Taylor Spink Award at the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Conlin abruptly retired earlier this week when he was notified of a story from the Philadelphia Inquirer about allegations of child sexual abuse against him from the 1970s.
There are now six people claiming that Conlin abused him when they were children, with two of them coming forward this morning. The latest victim, 50-year-old Linda Stella, says that she was molested on two separate occasions by Conlin in his New Jersey home. The second victim to come forward today has not been identified but she also claims the abuse happened in his New Jersey home. It has been announced by prosecutors that Conlin cannot be charged because the allegations have passed the statute of limitations. Conlin has denied all of the allegations against him.
Stella was friends with Conlin’s daughter at the time of the abuse. She tried to avoid Conlin after their first encounter but had been pulled into his bedroom twice and fondled. The Inquirer story released on Tuesday claimed that three women and a man were abuse by Conlin as children in the 1970s.
George Bochetto is Conlin’s attorney, who has not made any public comments on the subject. Three of the female victims, including Conlin’s niece, Kelley Blanchet, have hired attorneys. Blanchet is a municipal prosecutor in Atlantic City.
“This isn’t a he said/she said,” Slade McLaughlin, the attorney for those three women, told the Daily News yesterday. “It’s a he said/they said, and the ‘they’ includes not just the victims but also their parents, and I think that makes the story a lot more powerful.”
Stella never spoke of the abuse to her parents, fearing that they would not believe her. Instead, two years ago, she told her fiancé, Joe Kennard, about the abuse. Kennard informed the Daily News that when he found out he called Conlin’s extension at his office and left him messages.
” ‘What I’m calling about is of utmost importance. Call me right away’ ,” Kennard said in the messages to Conlin, who never called back. “I just thought it was despicable,” Kennard said. “It was something that really bothered me. . . . I wanted to put the fear of God in him. I would have told him that I’m going to tell everyone about this,” Kennard said. “I want to tell the paper about it.”
Kennard explained why he never told Conlin’s bosses: “This guy is beloved in the sports world, and here comes me. Who’s going to believe me? When you think of someone doing something like that to a child, it’s the most horrible thing ever,” Kennard said. “You mess people up forever.”
Stella thought that she was the only victim of Conlin’s. Stella lived 10 doors down from the Conlin household in the Whitman Square of Washington Township.