Penn State & Alleged Pedophilia: Is New York's Lou d'Almeida Last Man Standing?
It took Penn State 12 years to get rid of Sandusky and his enablers, Paterno and Spanier. Lou d'Almeida's alleged victims still wait for justice. Lou d'Almeida must go and not have any more contact with our children in the Gauchos or in this city.
[The Gauchos Scandal]
Beware of Bearers of "Candy"
Second In a Series of reports and commentaries
Now that Penn State University has fired its long time coach Joe Paterno and the university president Graham Spanier, many people are wondering how the sexual abuse of young boys --many Black-- by coach Jerry Sandusky could have lasted for over 15 years.
It's because coach Paterno had built such a renowned program and knew so many rich and powerful people that he became untouchable. In New York City, we have our own versions of coach Paterno and coach Sandusky.
In 1996, The City Sun, a weekly published by the late Andy Cooper, then based in Brooklyn -- and which has since shut down-- reported in its April 17-April 23, 1996 edition that Lou d'Almeida, the founder of the renowned Bronx-based Gauchos basketball program had been observed performing oral sex and a minor inside his car, which was parked outside the gym. After The City Sun's expose, The Daily News and The New York Post also reported on the allegations.
The Gauchos operates under a non-profit organization called Teamwork Foundation, Inc., which on its website boasts of helping young Black and Latino boys. In Pennsylvania, alleged sexual predator Sandusky also operated a "foundation" called Second Mile. It's now believed it may have been used by the former Penn State defensive coach to lure his victims, who came from poor families.
Sandusky allegedly fondled a pre-teen boy in 1999 and was investigated and yet no charges were ever filed. In 2002, a graduate assistance caught him raping a 10-year old boy in the showers and reported the attack to coach Paterno. Penn State's athletic director and the school's president were informed. Yet no one called the police.
Sandusky was not arrested until last week. In the meantime, he had raped scores of boys. The authorities have documented the cases of eight victims.
He was evidently untouchable.
And in New York, how powerful and well connected is the Gauchos' d'Almeida? Consider that in 1969, he was charged with second-degree manslaughter in the shooting death of a 20-year-old male diver, Gerald Gerardo. He claimed Gerardo had been distraught and that he had tried to wrest a gun away from the young man, a world-class diver. The charge was lowered to criminally negligent homicide at the request of then Manhattan assistant district attorney, Gino Gallina; d'Almeida got five years probation. He never served time as a result of a deal that had d'Almeida provide New York prosecutors with information about the mob. (After the d'Almeida case, DA Gallina quit and went to work for a firm whose clients included Mafia members. He was later gunned down execution-style on a Greenwich Village street).
Then in 1996 came The City Sun's expose and the follow-ups in other newspapers. Yet, today, d'Almeida is still very much active in the Gauchos organization as his pictures on the program's website shows. He was also present at this year's Gauchos fundraiser --where the honoree was basketball legend Dwayne "The Pearl" Washington -- and last year's, which was hosted at Yankee's Stadium and attended by this reporter and a guerrilla journalist colleague, Nana Ama Tanks, in search of information.
The program for last
year's fundraiser had a congratulatory letter from New York City mayor
Michael Bloomberg. Powerful d'Almeida supporters have included the Bronfman
family of the Seagram's fortune and the Tisch family of LOEWS hotels fame.
Why do the authorities permit d'Almeida to have any further contact with children in this city?
Children today already have more than enough challenges on their plates to deal with. Some are bullied by their peers in school and or on the block. Some are brutalized, tortured and killed by family members, police and strangers in numbers that are staggering to the imagination.
With all this going on, d'Almeida slithers into the Bronx, dangling a basketball program. Many young boys from low-income families dream of college and future NBA stardom after the Gauchos to escape their hardship and help their families. If d'Almeida is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, then he must see the Gauchos as a hen house.
Could it be because he is a multi-millionaire --whose victims, as in many in the Penn State case, are Black boys--with very rich and famous friends in powerful positions? Could it be that d'Almeida also possibly procured some young victims for his rich friends?
I recently contacted Bronx County District Attorney Robert T. Johnson to inquire if he was still investigating d'Almeida on the alleged sex abuse charges; as he had confirmed to The City Sun in 1996. I was told by a spokesperson that DA Johnson wasn't investigating d'Almeida. (He also said, contrary to rumors, Johnson has never received a campaign contribution from Teamworks and also has never spoken at a Gauchos organized event).
In 1996, The New York Daily News reported that Teamwork's board had introduced a code of conduct to preclude inappropriate contact between staff and the young players. So why is d'Almeida back on the scene?
Incidentally, two of d'Almeida's contemporaries, who ran competing basketball programs, Ernie Lorch, of the famed Riverside Church "HAWKS" and Bob Oliva, of Christ the King school have both been indicted up in Massachusetts in recent years on the charge of child sex-abuse. The pattern was the same. Lorch and Oliva took children out of state or out of the country to participate in basketball tournaments; in fact, the sexual abuses were committed during such trips.
Lou d'Almeida has also taken Gauchos players for basketball trips out of New York, including to Hawaii.
So who really is this Lou D'Almeida? A man who Sports Illustrated reported lavished expensive sneakers and jewelry on the young boys who dream of NBA fame. Lou d'Almeida is the self-professed Santa Claus of the south Bronx. But who are Santa's little helpers?
Subsequent columns will explore that question.
It took Penn State 12 years to get rid of Sandusky and his enablers, Paterno and Spanier. The City Sun's expose was 15 years ago. Lou d'Almeida's alleged victims still wait for justice. Lou d'Almeida must go and not have any more contact with our children in the Gauchos or in this city.
Editor's Note: Any person who has any additional information concerning the alleged sexual abuse of young boys by the Gauchos' Lou d'Almeida please send an email message to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org You can also contact us at (212) 481-7745. We will treat the information with strict confidence.
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