Who Will Protect Young Boys From The Gauchos' Lou d'Almeida?

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[Black Star News Editorial]

Alleged child sexual predator Jerry Sandusky the ex-assistant football coach at Penn State University was arrested yesterday after two more males testified that he sexually molested them when they were boys.

Sandusky already faces several charges in connection to sexual attacks on other male minors, dating back to least 2002.

Investigations into Sandusky's alleged crimes continue in College Park, Pennsylvania.

Separately, in Syracuse, investigations continue into allegations that Bernie Fine, the former assistant basketball coach for 36 years at the nationally-renowned program also sexually abused male minors.

The Walt Disney Company-owned ESPN recently played a secretly made tape-recording of a phone conversation between Fine's wife and one of his alleged victims, Bobby Davis. The recording, which implicates Fine, had reportedly been in ESPN's possession since 2005. This clearly raises the question of moral and legal responsibility; especially if Fine continued to rape more male minors.

Here in New York City, even as investigations continue in College Park and separately at Syracuse University, scant attention is being paid to Lou d'Almeida, founder of the renowned Gauchos youth basketball program and alleged pedophile.

In 1996, The City Sun reported in its April 17-April 23 edition on allegations made by tutors at the Gauchos --the tutors attended Columbia University-- that they had witnessed d'Almeida performing oral sex on a Black male minor inside his car which was parked near the gym. Other newspapers such as The Daily News and The New York Post later followed up with their own articles.

Many sports and news writers on so-called "mainstream" media know about d'Almeida's alleged sexual abuse of African American male minors. Some media outlets today even continue to report, misleadingly, that d'Almeida "dropped out of the picture," or "out of view" after the Bronx County DA said he was investigating the sexual abuse allegations, without noting that d'Almeida is very much in the picture, as a simple click on the Gauchos website will confirm.

Lou d'Almeida is well connected. The Gauchos program, and the not-for-profit group that operates it, Teamwork Foundation, has been supported by powerful business families, including the Bronfmans, whose interests once included the Seagram company and the Tischs, whose interests include the Loews hotel chain and The New York Giants.

Is d'Almeida being protected because of his powerful connections? Why is it business as usual here in New York when investigations are moving aggressively in Syracuse and at College Park?

In a video tribute on the Gauchos' website, d'Almeida boasts about sending players such as Dywane "Pearl" Washington to play at Syracuse University and about his friendship with coach Jim Boeheim, whose program was rocked by the allegations against Bernie Fine and his dismissal.

The website says the program serves as many as 500 boys every year and that "approximately 73% are African-American, 25% are Latino, and 2% are from other ethnic groups." The website adds: "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."

Why do the New York authorities allow d'Almeida to continue his involvement with a basketball program for young African American and Latino boys?

Who will stand up and protect these young boys?

Perhaps it's time for Federal authorities to step in as the Secret Service did in Syracuse.

"Speaking Truth To Empower."

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