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Wednesday, May 16, 2012: Riverside AAU czar Ernie Lorch dies

   Leading off today: Ernie Lorch, the founder of the Riverside Church Hawks basketball program whose legacy was tainted by sexual-abuse allegations, has died, various New York City media reported Wednesday.

   Lorch, 80, died Sunday at a senior living facility in Yonkers. The cause of death was not immediately known.

   For many years, Lorch was indisputably one of the most influential men in metro-area basketball. A lawyer by trade, he coached dozens of players in the youth ranks — including Mark Jackson, Chris Mullin and Ron Artest — who enjoyed college and pro success after coming up through the ranks with the Riverside program, founded in 1961. "Riverside was the yardstick we measured ourselves against," AAU coach Gary Charles told The New York Daily News. "Mr. Lorch was a pioneer in this AAU thing. They don't make guys like him no more."

   But Lorch had to contend with allegations of sexual abuse over the last decade of his life. The Daily News first reported in 2002 that Lorch was at the center of a sex-abuse investigation launched by the Manhattan District Attorney's office but scuttled over statute of limitations restrictions.

   Massachusetts prosecutors filed charges in October 2010, with Lorch indicted by a western Massachusetts grand jury on attempted rape of a person over 14 years old, the paper reported. The indictment said Lorch assaulted the alleged victim sometime between March of 1977 and April of 1978 during a tournament in Amherst.

   Lorch fought extradition on medical grounds, and a New York State Supreme Court justice ruled Lorch was not competent to be shipped to Massachusetts to stand trial.

   Several New York men subsequently told the paper that they had been paid into the millions of dollars to remain silent about alleged abuse.

   David Sullivan, the Massachusetts DA who prosecuted Lorch last year on the criminal charge, said he will move to dismiss the case once he receives a copy of the death certificate, the paper reported.

   Budget news: What amounts to the "winner" for horror story of the day related to Tuesday's school budget votes comes from Hornell, home of the state's three-time defending Class B football champions.

   As voting by residents was in progress, the school board increased the budget for the turf replacement at the high school stadium by up to $372,000 because inadequate drainage was found as a construction crew ripped out the existing artificial turf during a project to install Field Turf.

   The stadium project, part of a $52.7 million construction package OK'd in 2008, is now budgeted at $1.5 million, a number that includes contingencies according to The Evening Tribune.

   What it doesn't cover, however, is the athletic budget that was shot down by voters Tuesday. Though the base budget of $32.9 million for the upcoming school year sailed through with 67.7 percent of the vote, the separate proposition for athletics and other extracurriculars fell short of the 60 percent super majority required. Slightly more than 55 per-

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cent of votes cast were in favor.

   “It is almost undemocratic,” school board President Paul McAnany told the paper. “We got a clear majority, but the cards were

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stacked against it.”

   The super majority was required because the proposed increase in the tax levy exceeded the state's new 2 percent cap. Rather than risking having the entire budget fail, the school board went the route of separate propositions.

   At the moment it appears it could be left to boosters and fundraisers to some up for the $468,100, which would also fund field trips. The district can put the proposition before voters one more time, but will have to educate voters as to why the money cannot come out of the budget funding the stadium renovations -- easier said than done in most places.

   Coach's daughter missing: Stevie Bates, the 19-year-old daughter of Satellite Academy boys basketball coach Darryl Jones, hasn’t been seen or heard from since April 27, The New York Daily News reported over the weekend.

   The former high school cheerleader was traveling cross-country with a group of friends she met through the Occupy Wall Street movement when she disappeared, the paper reported. Bates was last seen boarding a bus in Pittsburgh destined for New York, where she was supposed to arrive on April 28.

   “It’s just a very tough situation right now,” said Darryl Jones, who coaches in the PSAL’s alternative league as well as for the Long Island Lightning AAU basketball team. “We’re just trying to get through this right now.”

   The family filed a missing person report with Yonkers police last week.

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