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Coaches Cases
18
Nov
2011
Assistant Coach Bernie Fine Under investigation for Child Sexual Abuse

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Longtime Syracuse University assistant coach Bernie Fine is the subject of a police investigation into allegations that he molested a team ball boy for more than a dozen years, starting in the mid-1980s, according to an ESPN report. The alleged victim, Bobby Davis, told ESPN that Fine began molesting him in 1983 just before Davis entered seventh grade. According to the report, Davis says the abuse happened at Fine’s home, Syracuse basketball facilities and on road trips, including the 1987 Final Four. Davis spent six years as Syracuse’s ball boy. Fine is in his 35th season as a Syracuse assistant to Jim Boeheim. He has been placed on administrative leave.

Davis, now 39, says the abuse continued until he was 27 and reported the abuse to Syracuse police in 2003, but detectives told him the statute of limitations had expired and they would not investigate. ESPN investigated the story in 2003, but decided not to run the story because Davis was the only person willing to talk. The Syracuse Post-Standard also investigated the allegations in 2003. The news is emerging now because another alleged victim says he was sexually abused by Fine and is coming forward now because of news coverage of the Jerry Sandusky sexual-abuse scandal at Penn State, according to ESPN’s story.

According to the New York Penal Code, there is no statute of limitations “for prosecuting first-degree rape, first-degree criminal sexual act, or first-degree course of sexual conduct against a child,” but the statute of limitations “for other sexual offenses committed against a child under age 18 is five years after the victim reaches age 18, or the offense is reported to a law enforcement agency or statewide central register of child abuse and maltreatment, whichever is earlier.”

Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim released 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 [have] been involved in any of the activities alleged. Had I seen or suspected anything, I would have taken action. Bernie has my full support.''

In a statement by Syracuse University: “We understand that the Syracuse City Police has now reopened the case, and Syracuse University will cooperate fully. We are steadfastly committed to ensuring that SU remains a safe place for every student”.