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Ex-AAU leader accused of child sex abuse

Last Updated 3:56 p.m. ET

ORLANDO, Fla. - Two former basketball players have accused ex-Amateur Athletic Union president Robert "Bobby" Dodd of molesting them as children, according to an ESPN report.

The AAU confirmed late Friday that it is investigating the claims, which reportedly date from the 1980s. One of the players, 43-year-old Ralph West, told ESPN's "Outside the Lines" he was assaulted in Memphis in 1984.

Both West and a second unidentified man said news reports about the Penn State child sex abuse case prompted them to independently confront Dodd in November. The player, who spoke to ESPN on the condition of anonymity, said he called Dodd on Nov. 11 and that Dodd apologized for the alleged abuse. ESPN confirmed an eight-minute call to Dodd by examining telephone records.

Memphis police said in a statement that it had been contacted by the AAU and was looking into the allegations.

"The Memphis Police Department takes allegations of child sexual abuse very seriously," Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong said. "Although this case has its challenges due to the amount of time that has passed, it will be thoroughly examined; and if the investigation reveals the law was violated, the person responsible will be held accountable."

The Amateur Athletic Union said today it had recently been made aware of the accusations against Dodd and that it was "shocked and deeply concerned about these serious allegations."

In a statement released Saturday afternoon, the AAU's interim president Louis Stout said the organization's number one priority "always has been the safety and well-being of every young person who takes part in any of our programs and activities - anywhere in the country.

Stout said the organization has taken "active, appropriate steps" to address the allegations, including providing the Memphis Police Department with whatever information they had available and the promise of full cooperation; and independent internal investigation and review of AAU's protocols, procedures and policies, including outside expert assessments about the screening and training provided to staff and volunteers, and the safeguards already in place.

"AAU has a proud and strong track record of providing safe and positive youth programs in communities throughout the country," Stout said. "But, as appropriate, we are going to enhance any of our policies, procedures and practices - as recommended by this expert review - to ensure the safety of all of the young people in our programs."

Stout also reiterated that Dodd is no longer president and executive director of AAU. "The organization has no continuing contact with him - and he has no continuing association with the organization and its programs," Stout said.

Stout also urged anyone in the AAU community with information about instances of inappropriate behavior or abuse to contact law enforcement and the AAU.

On Friday, Stout had released a statement saying that the 63-year-old Dodd has colon cancer and would not return to his positions as president and executive director.

Both accusers said they never went to police and only recently told their families.

According to ESPN, West alleged that Dodd fondled him, tried to fondle him or masturbated in front of him at Dodd's home in Memphis, the AAU Junior Olympics in South Bend, Ind., and tournaments in Florida, Louisiana and Tennessee.

He told the sports network there were a half-dozen times from 1983 to 1985 in which Dodd either molested or attempted to molest him and that in each incident Dodd would sneak into his room "in the middle of the night and you don't hear anything ... and he's trying to reach his hand in your underwear, basically."

Dodd did not respond to ESPN's requests for comment. His assistant told the network in an email that he had cancer and had retired from the AAU on Nov. 29 for health reasons.

Robin Brown-Beamon, national chairwoman for the AAU athletics executive committee, was surprised by the allegations.

"That's the first I've heard of any of it," Brown-Beamon told ESPN.

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