Former AAU president Robert Bobby Dodd has been accused of molesting two children, former basketball players. They suggest the coach was a pedophile who snuck into their room at night and fondled them and kept bags of boys' underwear with names and dates on them.
A report from ESPN said they approached Dodd independently about the matter after the Penn State scandal broke in November involving former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky. Since that time, allegations have also surfaced that former assistant Syracuse coach Bernie Fine molested children, including a team ball boy.
The AAU said late Friday it is investigating the claims that date from the 1980s. One of the former players who claims abuse is 43-year-old Ralph West, who told ESPN's Outside the Lines that he was sexually assaulted in Memphis in 1984. West reportedly now lives in Miami. Another unidentified man also claims that he was abused by Dodd. He spoke with ESPN on the condition of anonymity, according to The Associated Press, explaining that he called Dodd on Nov. 11. He said Dodd apologized for the abuse.
The two men allege that the abuse from Dodd occurred between the ages of 12 and 16. They were basketball players for Memphis-based AAU teams headed by Dodd at the time. The men allege Dodd fondled them and masturbated in front of them while they were in their teens. Neither man reported the abuse to the police, according to The New York Daily News.
ESPN reported that West accuses Dodd of fondling him, and said Dodd tried to fondle him or masturbated in front of him at Dodd's home in Memphis, the AAU Junior Olympics in South Bend, Ind., and tournaments in Florida, Louisiana and Tennessee, according to the AP. ESPN said West alleges that Dodd abused him or tried to abuse him roughly six times between 1983 and 1985 by sneaking into his room in the middle of the night and you don't hear anything ... and he's trying to reach his hand in your underwear, basically.
Dodd led the AAU, or Amateur Athletic Union, since 1992 but reportedly retired just recently, on Nov. 29. An ESPN reporter contacted Dodd's assistant, who sent an email saying that Dodd has cancer and had recently retired for health reasons, ESPN said. But Dodd's departure was apparently abrupt, as other AAU officials contacted seemed unaware that Dodd has left the organization.
That's the first I've heard of any of it, national chairwoman for the AAU athletics executive committee Robin Brown-Beamon told ESPN regarding the allegations.
Acting AAU president Louis Stout said in a statement released late Friday that Dodd has colon cancer and is permanently out of his former position as the organization's president and executive director.
The AAU has recently been made aware of some serious allegations about President Robert W. 'Bobby' Dodd, dating back several decades, the statement said. The AAU has opened an independent investigation into these matters and also has contacted local law enforcement in Memphis, where the activities allegedly occurred. We will actively cooperate with any and all authorities to determine the facts and the truth.
Indications suggest that West and the other identified man may not have been the only victims. Among the allegations made by West and the unidentified man include:
--Dodd kept hundreds of photos of other players clothed backsides and crotches in filing cabinets.
--Dodd had bags filled with pairs of teenage boys' underwear and kept names and dates on them.
--Dodd kept samples of boys' hair.
--West said Dodd once tried to pay him $1,000 to let him perform oral sex while the player was blindfolded and bound.
--The unidentified player believes Dodd abused him while passed out after serving him alcohol and a drug to make him unconscious.
West said he contacted the AAU via email on Nov. 9 alleging that Dodd was a pedophile by that nobody followed up, according to ESPN.
The AAU is one of the largest nonprofit volunteer sports organizations in the the U.S. According to the organization's Web site, AAU is dedicated to promoting and developing amateur sports and physical fitness programs for athletes of all ages.