Nov. Hearing to Determine Lorch’s Competency

A Nov. 17 hearing in Westchester (NY) County court will determine if Ernest Lorch, the founder of the Riverside Church basketball program, is competent to stand trial in Massachusetts for an alleged sexual assault that took place more than 30 years ago, as reported by the Daily News.

Northwestern District Attorney David Sullivan told the News that psychiatrist Alan Tuckman examined Lorch and concluded that the former New York hoops powerbroker is competent to stand trial.

“We believe the evidence is clear that he can understand the proceedings, assist in his defense and be tried fairly here,” Sullivan told the Daily News.

An expert who examined Lorch at the request of his defense team has said that Lorch is not competent to stand trial.

Lorch’s lawyer Frederick Cohn has been battling extradition ever since his client was indicted on two sex abuse charges by a western Massachusetts grand jury in October 2010. Prosecutors have said the alleged assault occurred when the victim traveled to the University of Massachusetts with Lorch to attend a basketball tournament some time between March 1977 and April 1978.

One of the charges, indecent assault and battery of a person over 14 years old, was dropped because it was not on the books until after the attack allegedly occurred. But Lorch still faces an attempted rape charge.

Lorch’s attorney, Frederick Cohn, did not return calls from the Daily News. Cohn has said in court papers that the elderly Lorch, who lives in an assisted living facility in Westchester, is not competent to stand trial because he suffers from dementia and diabetes.

Cohn also claims that the alleged victim reported the crimes to Massachusetts officials decades after they allegedly occurred because he was unsuccessful in extorting money from the longtime basketball coach.

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