No formal abuse complaints lodged in Memphis against AAU figure

Reuters News
Posted: Dec 13, 2011 4:38 AM
No formal abuse complaints lodged in Memphis against AAU figure

By Tim Ghianni

NASHVILLE (Reuters) - Memphis police looking into child sex abuse allegations against former Amateur Athletic Union President Robert "Bobby" Dodd have not received any formal abuse complaints against him, authorities said on Monday.

Police told a news conference that no one had contacted them to make any formal complaint against Dodd following a phone call from the AAU on Friday about the matter and a request for the police to look into the allegations.

Shelby County District Attorney Amy Weirich said on Monday it was up to any potential victims to come forward to tell their stories to police.

"What we want to happen is: If anyone out there feels that they have been the victim of any type of crime, call the police, report that, let the officers of the Memphis Police Department do their work," she said.

"Let them investigate, and then that's when our office as prosecutors comes into the picture and we start making decisions as to who should be charged and with what," she added.

The AAU, one of the biggest nonprofit volunteer sports organizations in the country, has said it was investigating allegations of child sex abuse against Dodd dating back several decades. The union contacted police in Memphis, Tennessee, who said they were also looking into the matter.

The allegations against Dodd follow a series of accusations of child sexual abuse against assistants to high profile coaches at Penn State and Syracuse universities that rocked the world of major college athletics.

The allegations against Dodd, 63, surfaced last week after two accusers told sports network ESPN that he had engaged in a pattern of inappropriate touching and sex acts in hotels during tournaments and that he gave alcohol to underage players.

Dodd, who has not been charged with a crime, was not available for comment. An attorney for Dodd has not yet been identified.

Police officials have confirmed they were contacted by the AAU regarding accusations of abuse said to have occurred in Memphis approximately three decades ago.

But because no complaint has been formally filed, any consideration of whether a statute of limitations could limit law enforcement involvement remained a moot point, said Vince Higgins, spokesman for the Shelby County District Attorney General.

"We have to wait until the facts come out as to this case," Higgins said, adding that would depend on the date of any alleged incidents. "To speculate would be a bit premature at this point."

The players making accusations against Dodd said that they were abused between the ages of 12 and 16, ESPN reported.

(Editing by Cynthia Johnston)