Philadelphia sports columnist Bill Conlin accused of 1970's sex abuse

In this July 23, 2011 file photo, veteran Philadelphia sportswriter Bill Conlin speaks after receiving the J.G. Taylor Spink Award during a ceremony at Doubleday Field in Cooperstown, N.Y.
AP Photo/Mike Groll, File
Philadelphia sportswriter Bill Conlin, July 23, 2011, in Cooperstown, N.Y.
File, AP Photo/Mike Groll

(CBS/AP) PHILADELPHIA - Well-known Philadelphia sportswriter Bill Conlin has been accused by three women and one man of sexually molesting them decades ago when they were children.

The New York Times reports that an investigation by the Philadelphia Inquirer determined the 77-year-old Conlin allegedly abused the children when they were ages 7 to 12. The Inquirer printed graphic detail of the accusations in an article on its website.

After the news broke in the paper, Conlin, who's enshrined in the media wing of the Baseball all of Fame, abruptly retired Tuesday from his position as a columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News - a job he has held for more than four decades.

Conlin's attorney, George Bochetto, says his client was "floored by these accusations" and "plans to do everything possible to bring the facts forward to vindicate his name."

Prosecutors in New Jersey said no charges can be filed because the statute of limitations had expire in cases of abuse that occurred before 1996.

The families of Conlin's accusers did not go to police when the incidents occurred, but confronted him instead, reported the Inquirer.

The accusers said to the paper that they were inspired to speak publicly after painful memories came back to them in the wake of the accusations of sexual abuse made by 10 men against Jerry Sandusky, former assistant football coach at Penn State.

The alleged victims said they wanted to shed light on their frustration over the statute of limitations that governs sex crimes.