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Syracuse University fires Bernie Fine

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Albany/HV: Syracuse University fires Bernie Fine
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Syracuse University announced Sunday night that it was parting ways with Associate Head Basketball Coach Bernie Fine; this as a federal investigation continues into whether Fine sexually abused two boys back in the 1980s.

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Ten days after he was placed on administrative leave, Syracuse University Associate Basketball coach Bernie Fine has been fired.

Fine has been the focus of a federal investigation into sexual abuse allegations brought forth by a former ball boy, Bobby Davis. Now 39, Davis and his step-brother claim that they were abused by Fine back in the '80s when they were teenagers.

The allegations were originally investigated and dismissed by SU back in 2005. Chancellor Nancy Cantor addressed that fact in a statement released Sunday.

She said in part, "Like the media review of the case a few years earlier, no other witnesses came forward during the university investigation, and those who felt they knew Bernie best could not imagine what has unfolded."

About an hour after SU's announcement, head basketball coach Jim Boeheim released a statement of his own.

"The allegations that have come forth today are disturbing and deeply troubling. I am personally very shocked because I have never witnessed any of the activities that have been alleged. I believe the university took the appropriate step tonight. What is most important is that this matter be fully investigated and that anyone with information be supported to come forward so that the truth can be found. I deeply regret any statements I made that might have inhibited that from occurring or been insensitive to victims of abuse," said Boeheim.

The firing comes less than 24 hours after ESPN aired a taped phone conversation between Bobby Davis and a woman he claims is Fine's wife Laurie. The recordings were allegedly made by Davis back in 2002. In them, the woman said to be Laurie Fine claims to have knowledge of the alleged abuse.

At one point, the woman identified as Laurie Fine tells Davis, "I know everything that went on with him. Bernie has issues, maybe that he's not aware of, but he has issues. And you trusted somebody you shouldn't have trusted, Bernie is also in denial. I think that he did the things he did, but he's somehow through his own mental telepathy has erased them out of his mind. The issue at hand is that he had no business doing what he did with you."

In addition to the tapes, both ESPN and the Syracuse Post-Standard report that a third accuser has come forward in the case. Reports say Zach Tomaselli claims Fine abused him in a Pittsburgh hotel in 2002.

According to the paper, Tomaselli faces sex assault charges against a child in Maine, where he now lives. Tomaselli's estranged father, who lives in Jefferson County, told the paper his son is lying and that he never let his son travel with the S-U team in 2002.

Fine leaves Syracuse University after 36 seasons. At the time of his departure he was the most tenured assistant coach in Division I Basketball.

Bernie Fine's attorneys released a statement hours before their client was fired:

"Any comment from Mr. Fine would only invite and perpetuate ancient and suspect claims. Mr. Fine remains hopeful of a credible and expeditious review of the relevant issues by law enforcement authorities."

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