Bill Conlin is the Philadelphia Daily News columnist accused of molesting three women and a man in the 1970s, when they were ages 7 to 12. The report was published today by the Daily News’ rival, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and contains vivid and disturbing accounts of Conlin allegedly abusing the children, some of whom were relatives.
Because Conlin is (or was — he resigned over the accusations) a sports columnist in Pennsylvania, he chimed in on the Penn State scandal — or, more specifically, the alleged rape of a boy that occurred in a Penn State shower in 2002. Mike McQueary, a Penn State graduate assistant at the time, walked in on the attack, and left shell-shocked rather than intervening. McQueary’s inaction drew widespread contempt, and is one of the defining moments of the Sandusky scandal.
Here was what Conlin wrote about that on November 11th.
People who say they would have pounded the snot out of Jerry Sandusky had they been alerted by the alleged shower-room assault will remember Kitty Genovese . . . Everybody says he will do the right thing, get involved, put his own ass on the line before or after the fact. But the moment itself has a cruel way of suspending our fearless intentions.
Conlin would know about people not getting involved — he allegedly had a front row seat to similar inaction during the 70s. In the most horrifying parts of the Inquirer’s report, multiple parents of the alleged victims give their reasons for not coming forward and alerting police about the abuse that they say they knew about. Quotes like this one are mind-boggling.
“Kevin just came into the room crying. It was unusual to see a boy crying,” she said. “He told me Mr. Conlin molested him.”
She told her son not to tell his father – “his father had a terrible temper,” she said – and forbade him to return to the Conlin home.
But she continued to allow her daughter Karen to spend time with Conlin’s younger son, Peter. “I thought he was just interested in boys,” she said of Conlin.
A few years later, Barbara Healey said, she was shocked to learn that her daughter had been molested as well.
Conlin would also know about cowering during “the moment itself.” When one of the fathers of the alleged victims confronted Conlin about abusing his daughter, this was his reaction:
“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.'”
When he confronted Conlin and he started to sob, Hasson said, “it was such a pitiful sight. It took the fight out of me. I wish now I had done something more, but he swore to me and I believed him.”