Penn State Alleged Pedophile Arrested; What About New York City's Lou d'Almeida?
The Gauchos's website states, "Each year, the Gauchos serve between 400 and 500 New York City boys of who approximately 73% are African-American, 25% are Latino, and 2% are from other ethnic groups.
A former coach at Penn State University, a renowned football powerhouse, was arrested on charges that he sexually abused boys, some as young as seven years old, over several years.
Jerry Sandusky faces 40 counts of sexually abusing at least eight boys, including pre-teens.
In New York City, Lou d'Almeida the multi-millionaire founder of a Bronx basketball program called the Gauchos, has so far weathered for decades allegations of similarly sexually abusing young Black and Latino boys.
In the Penn State case, a graduate student reportedly saw Sandusky in 2002 engage in a sex act on a boy and told Penn State head
coach Joe Paterno about the abuse. Paterno, reportedly, told university officials, who never told the police.
The similarities between the Pennsylvania scandal and New York City's Gauchos's case is remarkable.
Here in New York, in 1996, several academic tutors at the Gauchos, also claimed that they caught d'Almeida performing oral sex on a young boy. These tutors reported the allegations to the Bronx County District Attorney, Robert T. Johnson. They also spoke to this writer, who was then a reporter at The City Sun, which broke the story.
At Penn State, Sandusky, 67, a former defensive coach might have been protected by senior school executives who were informed of the allegations by Paterno. These executives and the university may have believed that the scandal would rock the football program, which generated several millions of dollars for the university. What's more, Paterno had been pursuing the all-time winning record and the university may have feared that publicity surrounding the scandal might derail his quest.
On Saturday, two Penn State executives, Gary Schultz, a senior vice president for finance and business and Tim Curley, athletic director, were charged with perjury. They allegedly failed to report what they knew of the sex allegations to police.
Sandusky operated a "charity" to benefit young boys from disadvantaged background. This allowed him to come in contact with young boys from low income families, who then became his victims.
The only "punishment" the university reportedly gave Sandusky, which was approved by Penn State President Graham Spanier, was to bar Sandusky from bringing any of the children from his "charity" to the university's football building.
In New York City, d'Almeida, who is in his late 70s, is friends with many powerful movers and shakers, in business and the media industry. He built a multi-million dollar gym in the Bronx.
His connection to wealthy people --who attend his program's fund raisers-- was a subject of an editorial on September 19, in The Black Star News, which questioned whether the authorities allowed him to get away with the sexual abuse allegations because of his prominent associations.
As in Sandusky's case, d'Almeida also operates a non-profit organization called Team Works Foundation which operates the basketball program, The Gauchos, in the Bronx. The organization has also allowed d'Almeida to come into contact with many children from low income families.
The Gauchos's website states, "Each year, the Gauchos serve between 400 and 500 New York City boys of who approximately 73% are African-American, 25% are Latino, and 2% are from other ethnic groups. While participants come from throughout the city, the majority comes from the Mott Haven section of the Bronx and from Harlem. In these communities there is an acute need for a program which young people value and participate in healthy, wholesome activities in a safe environment."
Some former Gauchos players, who became legends either in college or in the National Basketball Association (NBA) include: Mark Jackson; Stephon Marbury; Felipe Lopez; Ed Pickney and; Dwayne “Pearl” Washington, to name a few.
During the Gauchos' fundraiser last year, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg placed a congratulatory letter in the brochure for the event.
Until October, Wendell B. Walters, a former Gauchos, was a prominent Bloomberg administration official, as assistant commissioner at the Department of Housing Preservation and Development. Walters was fired by Bloomberg after he was charged with allegedly receiving $600,000 in bribes from developers for contracts to build low-income housing.
After The City Sun's reported of the sex allegations against d'Almeida in 1995, other newspapers, including The New York Daily News and The New York Post, published their own reports, quoting The City Sun article. Subsequently, d'Almeida maintained a low profile.
Now, d'Almeida is once again playing a major role at the Gauchos; he is listed prominently on the organization's website as the founder and his photograph appears allover the website. He launched The Gauchos 43 years ago.
The Black Star News's previous editorial asked readers to call District Attorney Johnson at (718) 590-2000 to ask him about his investigations into allegations against d'Almeida.
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