Disgraced tennis star Bob Hewitt was suspended indefinitely from the International Tennis Hall of Fame Thursday, following a lengthy investigation into allegations that he sexually abused underage girls he coached, from Greater Boston to his South African homeland, from the s to the early s. The Hall of Fame stopped short of expelling Hewitt, one of the greatest doubles players in tennis history, because he has not been convicted of a crime, according to executive director Mark Stenning.
Be the first to know the latest sports news as it happens. Sign Up Thank you for signing up! She said she was 12 when Hewitt first had sex with her after a coaching session. As it turned out, several months passed before the Hall hired Michael J.
Connolly, a former federal prosecutor and a partner in the Boston-based law firm of Hinckley Allen and Snyder, to lead the inquiry. Advertisement Connolly, by all accounts, conducted an exhaustive investigation, including recently spending 10 hours on Labor Day interviewing Hewitt in Boston.
We expended tremendous resources and time on it and feel comfortable that we have done the right thing. Hewitt, 72, who also could not be reached, generally denied the allegations in an interview with the Globe last year in rural Addo, South Africa. Hewitt began coaching Conner at a club in Danvers soon after his career with the Boston Lobsters pro team was shortened by an injury. Conner, now a teacher at Reading Memorial High School, filed a report with the Topsfield Police more than two years ago accusing Hewitt of raping her.
She had been dismayed until Thursday that none had taken action against Hewitt. Notable among them was Billie Jean King, an inductee and life trustee of the Hall of Fame who partnered with Hewitt in to win the mixed doubles title at the French Open.
He had interviewed several dozen individuals, including several of the alleged victims on the condition the sessions remained confidential. Chief among the evidence against Hewitt are several handwritten love letters he allegedly sent to one of his students, Twiggy Tolken.
Tolken, who said Hewitt became sexually involved with her when she was 12, provided copies of the letters to the Globe and the Hall of Fame. One letter ended with an urgent instruction: I love you, BOB. Connolly said the analysis was no longer necessary after Hewitt acknowledged writing the letters.