By Paul Kurtz
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A fifth person has come forward to say that she was abused as a child by Hall of Fame columnist Bill Conlin, according to a story on the Philadelphia Inquirer’s website. The story comes one day after Conlin resigned over accounts from three other women and one man who said that Conlin groped or molested them in the 1970’s, when they were between the ages of seven and twelve.
The new accuser, who is not identified, says she was seven when Conlin invited her to a bedroom in his home to see a litter of kittens, then assaulted her. Conlin has declined comment on the charges but his lawyer says he plans to vindicate his name. (see related stories)
Though his reputation is in tatters, Conlin apparently will be able to keep his place in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
The Baseball Writers Association of America has issued a pair of statements, expressing its shock about the allegations. But it says the matter is best left to the proper authorities and the allegations have no bearing on Conlin winning the 2011 J.G. Taylor Spink Award.
Baseball insider Seth Everett says he would not have won that award had the alleged victims stepped forward earlier.
“He wouldn’t have won the award if this was two years ago.”
In addition the statute of limitations rules out legal charges, making it very difficult to remove Conlin from Cooperstown. But his is not a unique case, says Everett.
“I just think of Ty Cobb. I mean, Ty Cobb was a Hall of Famer who is a known racist. He was known to hate African American people. And I’ve been told by people in the Hall of Fame there is no greater scum of the earth in the Hall of Fame.”
A spokesman for the the Hall of Fame has declined comment.