There are new stories in today's Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News regarding long-time Daily News columnist Bill Conlin, and, alongside the claims in Tuesday's Inquirer story, they paint a grim picture, if true.
The Daily News story piques our interest not just because of the allegations it contains but because Conlin had been one of the paper's stars for so long. (In conversation with A.J., Conlin mentioned that a Daily News-Inquirer turf war might have prompted the first story's publication.) But now the Daily News has assigned its Pulitzer-winning investigative team, Barbara Laker and Wendy Ruderman, to Conlin's case.
They report today:
Linda Stella said that she was just a girl when Bill Conlin pulled her onto his lap and began "flexing his leg muscles" during a family birthday party at his house in South Jersey. She leaped off his lap and looked back. She felt confused when she saw the wet spot at the crotch of his white pants.
"I was a kid, I didn't know what it really was," Stella told the Daily News last night. "It looked like he had peed in his pants."
Stella, who was friends with Conlin's daughter at the time, said that she tried to avoid Conlin after that. But later, the burly former Daily News sports columnist, in two separate incidents, grabbed her by the arm, pulled her into his bedroom, forced her onto his bed and fondled her breasts and genitals, she said.
The Inquirer story quotes another unnamed woman who said Conlin molested her when she was seven years old. She was a childhood friend of Conlin's son, she said. In more detail:
She said Conlin groped and fondled her as she sat in his living room watching television. And she said he assaulted her in an upstairs bedroom after inviting her to see a litter of kittens.
"It was so upsetting," said the woman, now 44 and a mother of three. She said that on two occasions, Conlin touched her genitals and put his fingers inside her.
Conlin did not comment for either story.
Years of silent fear: 6th person accuses Conlin [Daily News]
Another woman comes forward over abuse by Bill Conlin [Inquirer]