Syracuse Police and Syracuse University are promising thorough reviews of claims that a top figure in the S.U. basketball program sexually abused two young men in the 80s and 90s. The claims against assistant coach Bernie Fine were made in interviews with ESPN. Fine issued a statement today calling the charges, "patently false". YNN's Bill Carey says it's an investigation delayed, and an investigation that may never produce any criminal charges.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- It was an interview that shook Syracuse University.
“I just remember being disgusted, in a sense. That's when everything, you know, when he started trying to touch me,” said Fine accuser Bobby Davis in an ENPS interview.
Bobby Davis, a former ball boy for the SU basketball team claiming that he had been repeatedly abused in the 80s and 90s by assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine.
Davis' story had gone untold by reporters who heard it in 2003, and unprosecuted by police and university officials who received the information in 2005. The problem was a lack of corroboration.
In the wake of a sex scandal at Penn State, Davis said he got the corroboration he needed, a step brother, Mike Lang, who had also served as a ball boy, and who also claimed to have been abused by Fine.
Again, post Sandusky, this time police stepped in.
Newsweek Columnist Buzz Bissinger said, “This is a much murkier case. Although having watched Davis on tape, listening to him, it is the same motive as Sandusky used. These guys have great power. They're father figures and take advantage of kids.”
Syracuse University was quick to place Fine on administrative leave. A spokesman saying the school, “…takes any allegation of this sort extremely seriously and has zero tolerance for abuse of any kind."
Fine issuing a statement said that he was confident that, "...as in the past, a review of these allegations will be discredited and restore my reputation.''
Standing by his long time friend was head basketball coach Jim Boeheim.
“Somebody comes along who's related to the first guy. That's what the corroborating evidence is? It just does not come to belief. I've known Bernie for 50 years and, I don't believe this,” said Syracuse University Basketball Coach Jim Boeheim in a TK99 interview.
The question is what Syracuse Police would do with this case, once they've complete their investigation. The statute of limitations for a criminal charge has run out.
Attorney and author Paul DerOhenessian said, “Even if the case cannot be pursued, criminally or civilly, it still may be significant to make a record of the case, because any subsequent abuse by an individual could place an institution or employer on notice. And that's why, sometimes, victims are encouraged to still report an act or event, even if it can't be prosecuted or there can be no civil suit.
There is no timetable given for how long the investigation will take to complete.
Syracuse Police have now issued a request for assistance from anyone who may have information regarding this or any other cases involving alleged sexual abuse by Bernie Fine.
They're asking people with such information to contact them at (315) 442-5222.
Statement from Bernie Fine:
Simply put, these allegations are patently false in every aspect. The fact is these allegations have been thoroughly investigated multiple times. When evaluating the veracity of these accusations, please keep in mind that credible media outlets were approached in the past to publicize these false allegations and declined to do so. I fully cooperated with all past inquires.
Sadly, we live in an allegation-based society and an internet age where in a matter of minutes one's life long reputation can be severely damaged. I am confident that, as in the past, a review of these allegations will be discredited and restore my reputation. I hope the latest review of these allegations will be conducted expeditiously.
Finally, I appreciate the Chancellor’s statement that I should be accorded a fair opportunity to defend myself against these accusations. I fully intend to do so. There should never be a rush to judgment when someone’s personal integrity and career are on the line.