Lorch escapes extradition to Mass. on sex abuse charges

Accused child molester Ernest Lorch, the founder of the prestigious Riverside Church (NY) basketball program, is not competent to be extradited to Massachusetts to stand trial for sexual abuse, a Westchester judge ruled in White Plains, as reported by the Daily News.

State Supreme Court Judge Albert Lorenzo made the ruling after prosecutor Carrie Russell of Massachusetts’ Northwestern District Attorney’s office said at an extradition hearing that she would not contest three experts’ claims that Lorch suffers from dementia.

But Lorch is not off the hook in Massachusetts just yet. Lorenzo said he could review the case in three months. Northwestern District Attorney David Sullivan said his office will review the case to determine if it should continue its efforts to bring Lorch to Massachusetts to stand trial.

“We want to look at the case and make sure his condition is permanent,” Sullivan told the Daily News. “It is disheartening for an individual that we wanted to bring to justice to slip through the justice system because of his condition. We will make a decision in the next month.”

Lorch, 79, was indicted by a western Massachusetts grand jury in October 2010 on attempted rape and indecent assault and battery of a person over 14 years old.

The indictment said Lorch assaulted the alleged victim sometime between March 1977 and April 1978 during a trip to Amherst for a basketball tournament. The indecent assault and battery charge was later dropped because it was not on the books until after the attack allegedly occurred.

Mitchell Garabedian, the victim’s Boston attorney, said his client is “disappointed” that Lorch may not be prosecuted because of his failing health.

“He wanted the truth to come to light,” Garabedian told the Daily News. “My client should be proud for coming forward and reporting sex abuse. By doing so, he made the world a safer place.”

Garabedian said he is trying to determine if the ruling will permit him to proceed with a civil suit against Lorch and Riverside Church.