SU head coach Jim Boeheim is turning his apology into action. On Friday, following the basketball team's win over Florida, Boeheim expressed his regret for comments he previously made toward the men accusing Bernie Fine of molestation. Our Iris St. Meran has more on his comments and the pledge he has made to raise awareness about child abuse.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Following SU's win over the Florida Gators, Coach Jim Boeheim made it his priority to set the record straight.
Boeheim said, "I shouldn't have questioned what the accusers expressed or their motives. I am really sorry that I did that."
Last month, ESPN first reported that Bobby Davis and his stepbrother Mike Lang had come to them accusing former associate coach Bernie Fine of sexually abusing them when they were ball boys.
Boeheim immediately threw his support behind Fine, calling the brothers liars. With his apology came a pledge to raise awareness about child abuse and to work with the McMahon/Ryan Child Advocacy Site.
"There's no question in my mind that the issue of abuse is the number one thing we all should be concerned about in this community,” Boeheim said, “And that's what I'm going to try to do."
McMahon/Ryan Child Advocacy Site Executive Director Julie Cecile said, "He's sincere with what he wants to do for us. He has always supported our mission. We're not sure where that education piece is now. We're still in the early stages."
Cecile said, within this dark cloud of controversy, there is a silver lining. Child abuse has been in the spotlight and there are lessons the community can take from this.
"If they suspect something that might be happening, if a child is acting inappropriately in a sexual manner behind his ages or if they're complaining about an individual or uncomfortable around an individual. Those are all red flags," said Cecile.
Aside from these red flags, Cecile said the community also needs to create an environment where victims feel comfortable coming forward to report the abuse.
She said that having Boeheim step up and offer support is major and she hopes this will help others will feel empowered to come forward.
Cecile said this coming year, McMahon/Ryan will be doing more in the community about child abuse, including town hall meetings which have been planned.
To learn more about what you can do to stop child abuse, visit www.mcmahonryan.org.