They felt voiceless, their cries for help neglected by an institution that long has honored the man they say sexually abused them.
For 10 months, five women who allege tennis great Bob Hewitt molested them as minors between the 1970s and 1990s wondered why the International Tennis Hall of Fame failed to act on their request to remove him from the organization’s gallery of stars.
Now they have an answer. Ending months of near-silence, the hall’s executive director, Mark Stenning, expressed regret Tuesday that the organization waited so long before it recently opened an investigation into Hewitt’s alleged misconduct. He said the hall spent months deliberating how to respond to the allegations in part because it never before had confronted such a case.
“Looking back, there are probably a number of things we should have done more swiftly and better,’’ Stenning said from Newport, R.I., where the hall is based.
“Shame on me,’’ Stenning added, for not sooner explaining the hall’s decisions to the alleged victims and the public.
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