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Syracuse assistant Bernie Fine under investigation for sexual-abuse allegations

Nov 17, 2011, 8:32 PM EDT

spt-111117-bernie-fine Getty Images

Longtime Syracuse 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, at Syracuse basketball facilities and on road trips, including the 1987 Final Four. Davis spent six years at Syracuse’s ball boy. There are graphic details about Davis’ allegations in the ESPN story and can be found here and here.

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.

Click here for Boeheim’s heated response to the allegations

Kevin Quinn, Syracuse’s senior vice president for public affairs, issued a statement Thursday night 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.”

Police are now reopening the investigation.

You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.

  1. bjtmeyer - Nov 17, 2011 at 9:54 PM

    Disgusting. What is wrong with these coaches? Do they just get so bored with life that they have to take it to this level? All of these coaches need to be fired for their behavior.

  2. florida727 - Nov 18, 2011 at 7:39 AM

    Easy to say fire the guy over an allegation isn’t it?

    Sorry, but this one smells like nothing more than a let-me-get-my-15-minutes-of-fame ploy. The abuse continued until the guy was TWENTY-SEVEN (27) years old? Bullsh*t. What 27-year old allows that to happen without reporting it to authorities? ZERO corroborating witnesses? Do the math. Davis is 39. Says the abuse continued until he was 27. That’s 12 years ago. He reported it in 2003. That’s 8 years ago. Why did he wait FOUR YEARS to finally go to the police?

    Sorry, Bobby Davis, you’re a liar and your 15-minutes is over. YOU are the disgusting one, not Bernie Fine. Mike Miller… great job laying out all the details. You made it easy to reach an opinion that Bobby Davis is full of sh*t.

  3. lrg51 - Nov 18, 2011 at 10:19 AM

    What is it with these universities covering up this stuff and not willing to face the problem head on. FIRE the coach, the head coach, the athletic director, the head of campus police, and the university president. Heads must roll… (Sound familiar?)

  4. bugsybrown - Nov 18, 2011 at 12:01 PM

    Bernie Fine was an assistant to my gym teacher Mr. Halliday at Lincoln School back in the late sixties. He was a good teacher, i remeber that he had the respect of most of the staff. I also remeber him later in life dating a woman that lived near us, I was kinda shocked by the allegations, he would have been the last person i would have suspected.

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