A legendary New York City high school basketball coach was accused in an indictment Thursday of raping a 14-year-old during a trip they took to Boston in 1976 for a Red Sox-Yankees doubleheader.
A grand jury returned indictments against Bob Oliva, 65, on two counts of child rape and one count of disseminating pornography to a minor.
Oliva won 549 games and five city championships in 27 seasons at Christ the King Regional High School, where he coached future NBA players such as Lamar Odom. Oliva resigned last January, citing heart problems.
The alleged victim, Jimmy Carlino, didn't play for Oliva at Christ the King. He and his family became close to Oliva after Carlino played in a Queens Catholic Youth Organization basketball league where Oliva was a coach, according to the Rev. Robert Hoatson, who described himself as Carlino's "pastoral advocate.''
Hoatson and Carlino's civil attorney, Mitchell Garabedian, said Carlino would not comment on the indictment. Hoatson said he spoke Thursday with Carlino, whom he said had mixed feelings because he considered Oliva like a "godfather.'' But he said Carlino also felt vindicated.
"It's the first time in six months ... that I felt a sigh of relief in him,'' said Hoatson, head of Road to Recovery, a New Jersey-based group that supports victims of clergy sex abuse. "This is the first act that says, 'Society believes me.'''
Oliva's attorney, Michael Doolin, said Oliva was innocent and is looking forward to coming to Massachusetts to try the case.
"He wants to clear his name,'' Doolin said. "These allegations that have been lodged against him will ultimately be tried in a court of law and I have every expectation that Mr. Oliva will be found not guilty.''
A date for the arraignment hasn't been set, according to Jake Wark, spokesman for the Suffolk District Attorney's office.
Carlino, now 48 and a Florida resident, said Oliva abused him for years, starting at age 12, Hoatson said.
The Boston assault allegedly took place in city hotel. Prosecutors at the Suffolk District Attorney's office said they were able to charge Oliva in the 34-year-old case because the statute of limitations was frozen while Oliva lived out of state.
The maximum sentence for a conviction on child rape is life in prison.