Thursday, November 4, 2010
Prominent NY youth coach arrested
BOSTON -- Authorities in New York have arrested a prominent youth basketball coach who is accused of sexually assaulting a player in Massachusetts three decades ago, then failing to show up for his arraignment last week.
A fugitive task force picked up Ernest Lorch, 78, on Wednesday at a convalescent home in Ardsley, N.Y., said U.S. Marshal Daniel Spellacy in Springfield, Mass. He was released on a $25,000 bond and is scheduled for a Dec. 3 extradition hearing in White Plains, N.Y.
Lorch is accused of sexually abusing the then-17-year-old victim when his Riverside Hawks team traveled from Manhattan to the University of Massachusetts in Amherst for a tournament between March 1977 and April 1978. Lorch also tried to rape the player, the indictment said.
Massachusetts authorities began investigating early this year after the alleged victim came forward. The statute of limitations never expired in the 32-year-old case because its clock froze once Lorch left Massachusetts after the tournament, prosecutors said.
Lorch's attorney, Frederick H. Cohn, did not immediately return a call seeking comment Thursday.
Lorch founded and coached the Riverside Church basketball program, whose alumni include dozens of NBA players, including Chris Mullin, Mark Jackson and Stephon Marbury. He resigned from the program in 2003 after three decades following allegations of sexual abuse by a former player.
That player, who served federal prison time on a weapons offense in a separate case, accused Lorch of paying him $2 million in hush money.
But Lorch, an attorney, said he was investing in various failed ventures by the player and called the accusations "preposterous and deplorable." The Manhattan district attorney's office investigated, but charges were never brought in that case.
Last month, an arrest warrant was issued in the Massachusetts case for Lorch, who uses a wheelchair, after he failed to show for his arraignment on charges including attempted rape and indecent assault and battery on a person 14 or older.
Cohn said then that his client was fighting extradition.