FRIENDS SUPPORT HOOPS GURU ACCUSED OF PLAYER SEX ABUSE
Ernie Lorch, the 69 year old former director of the Riverside Church hoops program, is charged with sexually abusing a former player and later gave him $2 million. Coaches and former players rallied behind the basketball benefactor yesterday saying they can't believe the charges. Lorch is a multimillionaire lawyer who ran the program for 41 years, sending more than 60 players to the NBA and big-time colleges. He stepped down Monday after the church learned the Manhattan district attorney is probing the charges. Former Riverside Hawks player Robert Holmes, who is now 34 and has a long rap sheet and is serving 97 months on a federal gun-possession charge. He charges he was sexually abused by Lorch between the ages of 12 to 15. On January 19, 2000, Lorch testified he gave Holmes $2 million from 1997 to 2000 as an investment in his recording company.