Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Coach to plead guilty


Disgraced former Christ the King hoops coach Bob Oliva to plead guilty next month to sexual abuse
BY Michael O'Keeffe

Saturday, March 19th 2011, 4:08 PM

ReutersFormer Christ the King coach Bob Oliva (center) will plead guilty on April 4 to sexually abusing Jimmy Carlino (top l. and with Oliva, top r.) when Carlino was 14 years old. Former Christ the King basketball coach Bob Oliva has spent the past three years fending off sex-abuse allegations, claiming he is the target of a conspiracy to destroy his reputation.

Oliva claimed his accuser, Jimmy Carlino, is a degenerate gambler who concocted a story about a despicable crime because the coach would not bail him out when he owed money to bookies. He has said that Sam Albano, a friend who testified before the Boston grand jury that investigated the allegations, was angry because Oliva cut his son from the CTK basketball team. Other conspirators were jealous of his basketball success, according to Oliva, who won 549 games and four CHSAA Class AA intersectional titles during 27 seasons at Christ the King.

Oliva pleaded not guilty to rape of a child, a charge with a maximum sentence of life in prison, when he appeared in a Boston courtroom last spring after he was indicted by a grand jury in March 2010. But when Oliva appears in court in Boston on April 4, he's going to tell a very different story: The coach will plead guilty and acknowledge that he sexually abused Carlino during a trip to Massachusetts when Carlino was a 14-year-old boy.

When Oliva enters his guilty plea next month, his fall from grace will be complete - one of the most influential coaches in New York City hoops history will become a basketball pariah.

"Oliva may have conned 8 million New Yorkers that he was a coaching icon, but he knew that he couldn't convince 12 members of a Boston jury that he wasn't a pedophile," says Albano, a TV sports producer and former Oliva friend.

Albano and several other grand jury witnesses told the Daily News that Suffolk County, Mass., prosecutors told them last week that they had reached a plea agreement with Oliva's attorney, Michael Doolin, that will keep the former coach out of prison.

Oliva will have to acknowledge in court that he sexually abused Carlino during a trip to Massachusetts, when the coach took Carlino, a former player on Oliva's CYO teams and a family friend, to a Yankees-Red Sox doubleheader. He will also probably have to register as a sex offender, report to a probation officer, attend counseling, give up coaching youth sports and stay away from children in exchange for avoiding prison.

Jake Wark, a spokesman for Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel Conley, would not confirm or deny that a plea deal had been reached. "Every defendant has a right to plead guilty at any time," Wark says. "We are prepared to take the case to trial if necessary."

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