Emboldened By Penn State Case, Two Men Allege Abuse by Former Head of AAU

PHOTO: Report: Ex-AAU Leader Accused of Child Sex AbusePlayABC
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The Amateur Athletic Union has permanently removed Robert "Bobby" Dodd from the president's post, after two men accused him of sexually abusing them when they were teens, an AAU spokesman told ABC News.

The Memphis Police Department began probing the allegations against Dodd on Friday, one day after after the AAU, one of the largest sports organizations in the country, informed them of accusations from Ralph West, 43, of Miami, and an unnamed accuser, AAU spokesman Ralph Sachs said.

"AAU is facing up to, straight up to, these serious allegations," Sachs said. "[The AAU] has been forthright and candid. The interim president, staff, the volunteers are schocked and deeply concerned. All their action has been taken to protect the integrity of the organization but, particularly, the safety of the children."

The two detailed the alleged abuse when they were Memphis schoolboys in an exclusive ESPN interview on Friday. The AAU also gave police the name of a third man who may have allegations against Dodd, Sachs said.

For ESPN, West cited an assault that he alleges took place in 1983 when he was 15 and on an AAU basketball team trip to Florida, as well as other incidents.

"I was dead asleep, and I don't remember anything but waking up and he's trying to put his hand in my boxer shorts," West said, referring to Dodd, then a coach.

Dodd, 63, told the AAU he was slated to have surgery for colon cancer after its board of directors convened a special meeting with him Nov. 14 at the AAU's Lake Buena Vista, Fla., offices, Sachs said.

"He completely denied the allegations. Repeatedly," Sachs said. "He has not returned to this office since, nor will he."

For his part, West showed ESPN an e-mail message, dated Nov. 9, listing AAU's compliance division as the receiver and laying out the allegations against Dodd and the impending ESPN interview.

West said that he and the other man were inspired to go public last month about the decades-old alleged abuse after former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was charged with 40 counts of sex crimes against boys.

During out-of-town trips, "he always somehow had a key to the room I was in. That was his MO," West said. "It got to where ... if I had a hotel room, I would take the table and chairs and block it all against the door. It got to where he couldn't assault me but he would push his way in room. I would see him and I would hear him" masturbating lying on the floor or at the end of his bed.

"You lay their horrified. You don't know what to do," West said. "Are you going to blow the lid off of this? All you want to do is pretend it didn't happen and not address it at all. You want to hide and bury it."

The second accuser, whose identity ESPN didn't reveal, said Dodd gave alcohol to minors and, during one such occasion at his house, spiked the accuser's drink with some sort of tranquilizer.

"The last thing I can really remember was him carrying me into his bedroom and ... touching me in ways I didn't want another man touching me," said the accuser, whose face and voice were obscured for ESPN's broadcast.

He said he severed all ties with Dodd when he was 16, after Dodd proposed that he be blindfolded, hands tied behind his back, while "some boy" performed oral sex on him. That somebody would have been Dodd, the accuser believed.

West told ESPN that Dodd began sexually abusing him after Dodd gave West a job at a local YMCA that he managed. At that point, West said Dodd began wrestling and touching him, and pulling out his hair. West said Dodd also paid for him to attend a private Christian school in Memphis.

When Dodd built a home in nearby rural Mississippi, he asked West and a teammate to move a file cabinet that, as it turned out, contained boy pornography, waist-down photos of boys' underwear, with names and dates inscribed ont he waistbands, and folders of blond human hair, said West, who is blond.

"I never had contact with Dodd after that day," said West, adding that he will not sue. "... I want him exposed as the fraud that he is. He needs to have no contact with boys. Period."

The AAU is fully cooperating with the investigation, Sachs said.

Louis Stout, the AAU's interim president, in a statement posted on AAU's Web site, went further. AAU has given Memphis police "the limited information we have, up to this point," he said. "And we have given them our sincere commitment to actively cooperate in every way. ... We have begun an independent internal investigation and review of our protocols, procedures and policies.

"While we believe our network of programs has significant safeguards in place, we will never be complacent about doing all we can to protect the young people in our programs," he said. "This independent review will include outside expert assessments about the safeguards we have in place and the screening and training we provide to staff and volunteers."

Christine Brennan, a USA Today columnist and regular ABC contributor, told ABC that the allegations, if true, are alarming.

"This should be the wake-up call to end all wake-up calls," she said. "If you can't trust your boy or your girl to be playing sports in this country, within an AAU program, what in the world can you trust?"