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Bernie Fine case could have impact on future cases

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Albany/HV: Bernie Fine case could have impact on future cases
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There is no comment from federal authorities on the response they've received after implementing a special tip line to aid in their investigation into Bernie Fine. However, YNN's Bill Carey says there is hope that this case will have an impact far beyond the alleged circumstances.

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- “I just remember being disgusted, in a sense, you know. That's when he started trying to touch me,” Bobby Davis said on November 17th.

It was a little over a month ago that those words from former Syracuse University ball boy Bobby Davis touched off a firestorm.

Davis, along with step-brother Michael Lang, accused former associate SU basketball coach Bernie Fine of sexual abuse. Their claims were followed by similar tales from Zach Tomaselli and, later, state prison inmate Floyd VanHooser.

For agencies that deal with abuse in central New York, it has been an opportunity to get their message out. To start a discussion.

“I think that there have been several teachable moments. And one is, yes, we can, as a community, start talking and speaking about child abuse. But also, hopefully, it's a chance for agencies in the community to reach out to people who have been victims of either child abuse or adults who are survivors,” said Julie Cecile of the McMahon/Ryan Child Advocacy Center.

The Fine case itself is far from over as Syracuse Police and federal agents continue to collect evidence.

The U.S. Attorney's office is now accepting confidential phone calls and emails from anyone who might have information in the Bernie Fine case.

If there are additional victims to come forward, the task of making that phone call or sending an email will be a tough hurdle to clear, because it means giving up a very dark secret.

Cecile said, “That piece that they've been keeping from the rest of their family or from their friends for so long. So that's that first step and it is very difficult.”

No matter what happens in the Fine case, groups like McMahon/Ryan are hoping they can break through that wall of silence for other victims. Victims they know are out there.

“There are definitely hundreds of kids out there, just in our own community, that are being abused every day, whether it be physically, emotionally, or sexually abused every single day that we don't know about,” Cecile said.

Cecile says reaching those victims may be the one good thing to come out of a devastating scandal.

That tip line established by the U.S. Attorney's office is still accepting confidential information in the Fine case. The toll free number is 1-855-395-1106. You can also forward information by email to the secret service at syroffice@usss.dhs.gov.

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