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Syracuse coach Fine target of molestation probe


http://abclocal.go.com/wabc/story?section=news/sports/college/basketball/mens&sa=NCB&eid=7248184

Syracuse police say they are investigating an allegation that Syracuse University assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine molested a team ball boy for more than a dozen years beginning in the mid-1980s.

 

Syracuse police say they are investigating an allegation that Syracuse University assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine molested a team ball boy for more than a dozen years beginning in the mid-1980s.

 

Police stressed to Outside The Lines they are in the early stages of the investigation.

 

The alleged victim, Bobby Davis, now 39, told Outside the Lines that Fine molested him beginning in 1983 shortly before Davis entered the seventh grade. Davis, the team's ball boy for six years beginning in 1984, said the abuse occurred at Fine's home, at the Syracuse basketball facilities, and on road trips, including the 1987 Final Four.

In addition, a second man -- a relative of Davis -- told OTL that he was also molested by Fine around the same time as the first boy.

Fine is now in his 35th season as an assistant to head coach Jim Boeheim.

Davis said he never told Boeheim about the alleged abuse.

 

Kevin Quinn, Syracuse's senior vice president for public affairs, issued a statement on behalf of the school: "In 2005, Syracuse University was contacted by an adult male who told us that he had reported to the Syracuse City Police that he had been subjected to inappropriate contact by an associate men's basketball coach. The alleged activity took place in the 1980's and 1990's. We were informed by the complainant that the Syracuse City Police had declined to pursue the matter because the statute of limitations had expired.

"On hearing of the allegations in 2005, the University immediately launched its own comprehensive investigation through its legal counsel. That nearly four-month long investigation included a number of interviews with people the complainant said would support his claims. All of those identified by the complainant denied any knowledge of wrongful conduct by the associate coach. The associate coach also vehemently denied the allegations.

"Syracuse University takes any allegation of this sort extremely seriously and has zero tolerance for abuse of any kind. If any evidence or corroboration of the allegations had surfaced, we would have terminated the associated coach and reported it to the police immediately. We understand that the Syracuse City Police has now reopened the case, and Syracuse University will cooperate fully. We are steadfastly committed ensuring that SU remains a safe place for every member of our campus community."

Messages were left for Fine and Boeheim.

 

A source told Outside the Lines that Syracuse police and a high-ranking member of the Syracuse University police met on Thursday to discuss the allegation by Davis.

 

Davis said that Fine molested him at Fine's home, at the basketball facilities at Syracuse, on recruiting road trips and even at the 1987 Final Four. Davis said he was Fine's constant companion at all those places. He said that Boeheim would come into Fine's room, and see Davis lying on the Fine's bed, but never asked him any questions.

 

Davis said he was molested by Fine until he was around 27 years old. Through the years, he said he has felt bitter emotions over the molestation as sex scandals have emerged in the Catholic Church and lately with former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky.

Davis said he reported the abuse to Syracuse police in 2003, but that a detective told him that the statute of limitations had run out. Davis said the detective told him that if he knew of boys being molested by Fine at the time, that Syracuse police would investigate those allegations. Davis said he told the detective that he thought other boys were being molested but that he had only direct knowledge of Fine molesting him.

At the time, the Syracuse police chief was Dennis Duval, a former Syracuse basketball player for Boeheim. Duval, who retired in 2004, could not be reached for comment. He played at Syracuse from 1971 to 1974, and started with the Syracuse Police Department in 1978.

Outside the Lines investigated Davis's story in 2003 but decided not to run the story because there were no other victims who would talk, and no independent evidence to corroborate the boy's story. In recent days, a second man contacted Outside the Lines with information alleging that Fine had also molested him. That man said he was inspired to finally talk after seeing news coverage of the Sandusky case.

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