AP NEWS
Related topics

Ex-Player Sues Former N.Y.C. Youth Coach

April 29, 2003

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) _ An influential New York City youth basketball coach who was forced to resign last year amid accusations of sexual abuse was sued by one of his former players.

The lawsuit against Ernest Lorch was filed in U.S. District Court Monday by Robert Holmes, according to the office of Holmes’ lawyer, Lawrence W. Luttrell. The lawsuit asks for damages in excess of $100,000.

As head of the team at Manhattan’s Riverside Church for three decades, Lorch coached more than 60 future NBA players, including Chris Mullin, Mark Jackson, Stephon Marbury, Ron Artest, Elton Brand and Jerry Stackhouse.

Lorch, 70, could not be reached for comment Tuesday. A phone listed in his name rang unanswered, and a church spokesman did not know who his lawyer was.

Last year, through the church, Lorch said charges that he abused Holmes when the player was age 12 to 15 were ``preposterous and deplorable.″

Holmes, now 35, played basketball in the Riverside program during the 1980s. He’s currently serving an eight-year term at the federal prison at Fort Dix for a weapons offense.

Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau is continuing to investigate the allegations, office spokeswoman Barbara Thompson said Tuesday.

The filing of the lawsuit was first reported by the Daily News of New York in Tuesday’s editions.

Lorch, a multimillionaire attorney, resigned from the Riverside program last April. Holmes said Lorch paid him $2 million in hush money. Lorch called the money ``an investment″ in Holmes’ record label and other failed ventures, the newspaper said.

The papers, in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, seek to overturn the gun conviction by arguing that Holmes’ attorneys had a conflict of interest because they were paid $250,000 by Lorch to represent Holmes.

The sex-abuse lawsuit accuses Lorch and the Riverside Church of violating their duty to protect Holmes. The suit says Lorch suffers psychological and emotional pain.

Riverside spokesman Tinoa Rodgers said officials there had not yet seen the lawsuit, but they had heard of no other complaints against Lorch.

Luttrell told the newspaper that although the statute of limitations for the filing of a lawsuit has long passed, it should go forward because Lorch had kept Holmes from filing by promising to support him if he kept their sexual relationship secret.

Messages left Tuesday for Luttrell were not immediately returned.

AP RADIO
Update hourly