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The Early Lead
Posted at 10:55 PM ET, 11/17/2011

Bernie Fine, Syracuse assistant coach, reportedly put on leave

This post has been updated to add Boeheim’s statement.

Bernie Fine, an assistant coach for the Syracuse basketball team, has been accused of molesting a team ball boy, and police are investigating, ESPN is reporting.

The Associated Press is reporting that Fine has been placed on administrative leave.

Syracuse police told ESPN that “they are in the early stages of the investigation,” ESPN said. The alleged victim, identified as Bobby Davis, said the abuse started in 1983 and lasted until he was about 27.

Syracuse released a statement:

“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 associate 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.”

Syracuse’s Web site says Fine is in his 35th season with the team and identifies former Wizard Etan Thomas as one of his success stories. Fine graduated from Syracuse in 1967 and has known Coach Jim Boeheim since 1963, the site says.

Boeheim issued a statement in support of Fine:

“This matter was fully investigated by the University in 2005 and it was determined that the allegations were unfounded. I have known Bernie Fine for more than 40 years. I have never seen or witnessed anything to suggest that he would been involved in any of the activities alleged. Had I seen or suspected anything, I would have taken action. Bernie has my full support."

ESPN is reporting that another alleged victim contacted its “Outside the Lines show,” which had investigated the allegations in 2003, after seeing news reports about the arrest of former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky on charges of sexually abusing minors.

By Terri Rupar  |  10:55 PM ET, 11/17/2011

Categories:  The Early Lead

 
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