Sexual Predator Jerry Sandusky Guilty Is Off to Prison, What About New York's Lou d'Almeida?

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[Black Star News Editorial]

Jerry Sandusky may serve the rest of his life in prison having been convicted on 45 of the 48 counts of sexual molestation and rape counts he faced. Now it's time for media to turn the focus on other predators such as Sandusky: Here in New York City we have our own Lou d'Almeida founder of The Gauchos basketball program. Lou d'Almeida has many powerful friends in high places in New York. It would be a shame if this is the reason why his alleged abuses have not received the media attention they deserve. He's hosted several annual fund-raising events for the Gauchos, including one at Yankees Stadium in 2010. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's congratulatory letter for the Gauchos' program was printed in the 2010 fund-raising 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. (Nana Ama Tanks and Shaheed A. Muhammed, two investigative reporters from Guerrilla Journalism, a Brooklyn-based news
operation, attended the Gala to report on it and also obtained the
event's program).

The Gauchos's website lists prominent supporters such as Charles Chiara, as president, and Matthew Bronfman, as chairman. Lou d'Almeida was also the subject of a major Sports
, 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.

Many former Gauchos players who went on to either college or NBA fame include Mark Jackson, Stephon Marbury, Chris Mullen, Felipe Lopez, Ed Pickney, and Dwayne "Pearl" Washington, to name a few.

There are many similarities between Sandusky and d'Almeida. Both started foundations meant to help "disadvantaged" youth. Sandusky's was called Second Mile, which also operated a summer camp for boys from low-income families. In New York d'Almeida operates Team Work Foundation, the parent entity of the Gauchos.

These "foundations" allowed both Sandusky and here in New York d'Almeida to be around young vulnerable boys from low-income families. Both Sandusky and d'Almeida plied the young boys with gifts and took them on out-of-town trips and to athletic events.

Many members of the media fraternity are familiar with d'Almeida. He is a very wealthy man. An immigrant from Argentina who is now 78, he founded the Gauchos in 1969 at the West Side YMCA before moving to its current location in the Bronx.
Several coaches involved in amateur basketball talked about d'Almeida's sexual abuse of young Black players at the Gauchos, especially in the mid-1990s when a Brooklyn-based weekly newspaper The City Sun first published interviews with former volunteer tutors at the Gauchos. While there at the Bronx-based gym to help young players involved with the program with their schoolwork, these tutors stumbled upon d'Almeida performing oral sex on a player who was a minor inside his car which was parked near the gym.
These tutors also reported the rape to Bronx County District Attorney Robert T. Johnson whose office then launched an investigation. After The City Sun's report, other newspapers, including The Daily News had a report and The New York Post as well, about d'Almeida's alleged abuse of young players at the Gauchos.
Recently, following revelations of sexual abuse of students at the Horace Mann school District Attorney Johnson announced a hotline (718) 838-7387 for past victims of sexual abuse at Horace Mann and at the Gauchos to call.
There was no doubt that Sandusky was going to go down. He had no defense for the heinous crimes he committed except to try and convince the world that all the 10 boys who claimed he had raped them were liars.
Just before the verdict was announced authorities announced that one of Sandusky's own adopted sons had been willing to testify that he too had been raped by the former Penn State assistant football coach.
During the coverage of the Sandusky trial one of the best commentator has been MSNBC's Chris Matthews who raised the very basic question on "Hardball With Chris Matthews" where was the media all this time?  
Matthews believes that many members of the news media knew about Sandusky's sexual abuse of the young boys but basically turned a blind eye because they did not want to damage the reputation of Penn State with its great football program and legendary coach Joe Paterno.
University authorities must have also turned a blind eye to Sandusky's rapes, as coaching assistant Mike McQueary testified.  
But journalists are supposed to be the critical line of defense. If members of the media don't expose such abuses, who will protect our children? Who will protect society? Should media establishments that decide not to publish articles about such crimes even when they know about it also bare some legal liability?
They are without doubt morally responsible.
Let's see what members of the media who know about d'Almeida's alleged abuses do this time around.

"Speaking Truth To Empower."

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