Protest Planned Against Gauchos' Alleged Pedophile

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[Black Star News Editorial]

Sometimes adults let down children in the most spectacular ways.

What message do we send to our young ones when an alleged pedophile is allowed to continue to be in the presence of young children simply because he is a multimillionaire, who is well-connected in the business and political establishment and whose alleged victims are Black boys from low-income families?

What lessons are these young boys supposed to take from all this? That pedophilia is not such a bad thing? That it's okay when the alleged pedophile is friends with fellow multimillionaires who are well known in New York City and who support his foundation, which itself may have been created specifically for the purpose of luring children into his proximity? That the lives of African American boys from low-income families have no value?

We are not referring to Penn State University where, indeed, an assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, an alleged pedophile, whose proclivities were reportedly widely known, was allowed to carry on his deeds with no obstructions for decades. Sandusky, at last, is facing justice in Pennsylvania, charged with sexually abusing or raping more than a dozen boys.

Yet here in New York City, alleged pedophile Lou d'Almeida, founder of The Gauchos basketball program, whose proclivities are also widely known, is permitted to continue associating with children. He has also hosted "fund raisers" in the past few years that have been supported by New York's wealthiest and powerful individuals and families. The Gauchos' 2010 Gala was held at Yankee Stadium. Mayor Bloomberg's congratulatory letter was printed in the event's program.

Other names listed as "supporters" and "sponsors" on the 2010 Gala's Program read like a Who's Who, in New York's world of finance, business, media, and philanthropy: Adam Bronfman; Zoe Baird; Samuel Gaccione, and; Larry Hirschfield, and others. The honorees in the 2010 Gala were Ann Bronfman and Judith Chiara--mother of Charles Chiara, Team Work's president; all are from the family that founded Seagram Co.

The Gauchos is operated by Team Works Foundation and the gym is located in The Bronx. The Gauchos website lists prominent supporters such as Charles Chiara, as president, and Matthew Bronfman, as chairman.

Lou d'Almeida's background is well-known. He was the subject of a major Sports Illustrated  article on November 6, 1995. The magazine article focused on: d'Almeida's habit of showering young players with expensive gifts; an incident where a Latino teenage diver who had lived with d'Almeida ended up shot dead when he apparently tried to move out and there was confrontation between the two, and; the basketball tournaments road trips d'Almeida took with his young basketball players to other states. (Lou d'Almeida also took the young boys overseas to cities like Paris).

Sports Illustrated didn't mention d'Almeida's alleged pedophilia for legal reasons. But an African American-owned weekly newspaper called The City Sun, beginning with its April 17-April 23, 1996 edition, published a series of articles focusing on d'Almeida's alleged pedophilia. The newspaper had interviewed three former Gauchos academic tutors --some of whom were students at Columbia University.

These Columbia students who volunteered as academic tutors at the Gauchos, spoke about d'Almeida's proclivities, including an incident where they said they caught him performing oral sex on a minor inside his car which was parked near the gym in the Bronx.

After The City Sun article, other newspapers, including The New York Post and The Daily News also published accounts, quoting extensively from The City Sun. New York's major daily newspaper, The New York Times, has never touched the d'Almeida story.

Afterwards, Team Works Foundation supposedly instituted a policy barring staff from "inappropriate" physical  contact with the young players. (Ironically, when Penn State was first informed that coach Sandusky was caught anally raping a boy in a shower in the university, he was "punished" by being barred from bringing boys to the school's facilities).

Had The City Sun, which was published by its bold late publisher Andrew Cooper, never existed it's quite possible that d'Almeida's alleged pedophilia never would have been revealed. He was and is still protected by New York's wealthy establishment and the corporate media. He maintained a low-profile for a while after The City Sun's expose. He has been back in the gym for years.

Recently, The Black Star News  launched a series of editorials comparing the similarities between d'Almeida's case and Sandusky's. Both founded a "foundation" for "disadvantaged" young people. The "foundations" provided both men cover to be in the proximity of vulnerable young boys from low-income families.

When The City Sun first exposed d'Almeida in 1996, the Bronx County District Attorney Robert T. Johnson told the newspaper that his office could not get any of the alleged victims to testify against d'Almeida. Yet as far as we recall Johnson never held a press conference to announce an investigation or to ask for witnesses and victims to come forward.

Lou d'Almeida, who is now 78 years old, clearly has no fear of the investigative authorities. He seemingly taunts them and the parents of the young Black boys who have attended and still go to the Gauchos' gym, judging by the following passages from the organization's website:

“O King Philip, when he grows a little older, give your son over to a master of gymnastics to harden his body; and later I will come to undertake his soul” -Aristotle to King Philip of Macedonia

"Much like King Philip of Macedonia turned his son over to coach Leonidas of Epirus on Aristotle’s instruction to first develop young Alexander’s body, there is an organization in the South Bronx called Gauchos who in many ways has done the same for generations of youth from the Bronx and upper Manhattan."

With reports about sexual abuse of children back in the news, including two recent cases of teachers in the New York public schools system, this is the best time for DA Johnson to call for d'Almeida's victims to step forward. Johnson's phone number is (718) 590-2000.

In the meantime this newspaper has been in contact with activists who are planning a protest on behalf of all the children in front of The Gaucho's gym at 478 Gerard Avenue in the Bronx, before the end of February-- Black History Month. 

New Yorkers who want to show young boys from low-income neighborhoods that their lives have value and that some adults do care after all, send us an email message to for information from the activists about the protests

"Speaking Truth To Empower."

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