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..1010wins.com / Local News
Report: Sex Scandal Brewing at Riverside Church

Apr 30, 2002 1:16 pm US/Eastern

NEW YORK (AP) -- A multimillionaire attorney who ran a youth basketball program that produced dozens of NBA players has resigned amid allegations that he sexually abused a former player.

Ernest Lorch, the director of the Riverside Church youth basketball program, has voluntarily stepped down after the report that he also paid the alleged victim $2 million, the church announced Tuesday.

Lorch resigned after the Manhattan district attorney's office said it was investigating "certain matters relating to the Riverside Hawks basketball team and the team's volunteer director," church officials said in a statement. The Daily News first reported the resignation in its Tuesday editions.

The church "pledged its full cooperation in this matter ... and declines to comment further on the investigation," said spokesman Daniel Karslake.

The former player, 34-year-old Robert Holmes, claims that Lorch sexually abused him during the 1980s when he was a teen-ager playing for the Hawks. Holmes is serving a 97-month sentence in federal prison for gun possession.

A spokeswoman for Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau said the prosecutor's policy is to not comment on possible investigations.

A message left at a telephone number listed under Lorch's name was not immediately returned.

Karslake told the News that Lorch claims "the accusations were preposterous and deplorable ... But given the climate that we're in, it was best that he step aside until he is cleared."

Lorch, the former president of holding company Dyson-Kissner-Moran, founded the basketball program in 1961. Many of its former players have made it to the NBA, including New York Knicks guard Mark Jackson and former All-Star Chris Mullin.

He testified in Holmes' gun trial that he made payments totaling $2 million to Holmes between 1997 and 2000. Holmes' attorney, Paul Brenner, claims the payments began after Holmes and his mother confronted Lorch about the abuse charges.

"It was over a period of almost three years, and it was in connection with his business, which appeared to be going quite well," Lorch testified, according to the News. He called the payments an investment, but there was no timetable for repayment.

Holmes reportedly spent the money on luxury automobiles, motorcycles, trips to California, recording equipment and studio time for a failed hip-hop record label.

Lorch testified that he never received any return on his investment.

"I've invested with no strings," Lorch said, according to the News.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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