Monday, November 14, 2011

Bad coaches / Good business

 By Nana Ama Tanks for LIBERATOR

The Penn State scandal is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the abuse of youths in erstwhile "positive" settings, such as sports programs, boy scouts and grade schools. Across the US, young men and women are routinely subjected to sexual exploitation by adults in authority. Has there been an increase in instances of child molestation? That has yet to be determined. But what is certain is that new communication technologies and the willingness of parents and victims to speak out have made it increasingly difficult for pedophiles to hide. 
Nonetheless, the right wing points to the decline in what it calls morality (i.e., the rise of homosexuals in polite public forums, and the sexual liberation of women) as the driving force in what it percieves as an escalation in criminal sexual perversity. Of course, this notion is simply a pseudo-sociological figleaf for naked homophobia.  The truth of the matter is that it is quite lawful that current US institutions would not only tolerate but actually encourage the abuse of children--as they do poor women, immigrants, the disabled and other specially vulnerable strata of society.
As capitalism implodes,  the socially vulnerable increasingly become consumables in the productive process--be it making sneakers in a sweatshop or making a Big 10 football brand. This is the operative definition of FASCISM, in scientific materialistic terms. But that is a subject for another posting.
The Penn State fiasco hit the headlines because it threatened a multi-billion dollar entertainment factory. But what happens when the stakes or much more modest?
Nana Ama Tanks illustrates below how a BAD COACH can be allowed to not only walk on charges of child molestation, but also get a pat on the back when the victims and the "program" are small and non-white.
--William PLEASANT/ Sekou OSEI

Fifteen years ago multi-millionaire Lou d'Almeida was seen, in his car, performing oral sex on a young boy.  Lou d'Almeida is founder and coach of the renowned "Gauchos", a South Bronx basketball program for young South Bronx boys, ages 8-14 years old.

Former member and tutor for the "Gauchos" Joseph Luethke, witnessed d'Almeida sodomizing a young "Gauchos” basketball member in a car parked a few steps from the "Gauchos" gymnasium entrance.  He reported it to then "City Sun" journalists, Milton Allimadi, who broke the story in 1996.  The "Daily News", "The Times" and "Sports Illustrated" initially declined to publish the story and did not do so until the "City Sun" article was released.

Recruitment of new members dropped as news of d'Almeida's predilection for young boys spread.  "Team Work Foundation Inc.", the funding arm of the "Gauchos" program, started to waiver in their support.  Leading sneaker and sports apparel manufacturer "Adidas" refused to honor their commitment to provide sports equipment and sneakers to the program.  "Getting free stuff" was a major draw to enrolling young boys in the program.

It was reported in 1999 that d'Almeida, due to public scrutiny and pressure, was forced to step down and relinquish all duties relative to the "Gauchos" program.

Subsequent reports revealed other elements at play in d’Almeida’s life.   Johnette Howard of Sports Illustrated, wrote an article which said that in 1969, Lou d’Almeida was charged with second degree manslaughter in the shooting death of a 20-year-old acquaintance, Gerald Gerardo.  The article further revealed that coach d’Almeida and the Manhattan District Attorney, Gino Gallina, concocted a deal whereby the original charge of second degree manslaughter would be (knocked down) reduced to criminally negligent homicide.  d’Almeida in turn was required to testify against a former associate of his the D.A.’s office had identified as a known member of organized crime (Mafia).  The deal was struck.  The D.A.’s office spoke favorably on d’Almeida’s behalf to the judge and d’Almeida was convicted and sentenced to a five year probation.

However when d'Almeida showed up at the sixth annual Gala "Gauchos" fundraiser in September 2010 at the new Yankee Stadium, he was greeted with applause and accolades.
Last summer 2010, a team of "Guerilla Journalism" reporters interviewed a reporter from a large nation-wide news publication who has spoken with one of coach d’Almeida's alleged victims. The reporter requested his name not appear in print. The reporter said that he "found his [alleged victim] story to be credible, absolutely believable", but for “fear of legal action, our lawyers decided not to publish the story, however yes, yes we think d'Almeida is a pedophile."

To date "Lou d'Almeida has not denied the sexual abuse of a minor allegations" states Mr. Milton Allimadi, fromer writer of the City Sun.

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