Syracuse assistant accused of molestation

SPORTS NETWORK

, Last Updated: 9:38 PM ET

A longtime Syracuse assistant men's basketball coach is being investigated by police after he was accused of molestation by a former ball boy, according to a report.

Syracuse police told ESPN on Thursday that they are in the early stages of an investigation of Bernie Fine, who is in his 35th season at the university.

Fine, a longtime assistant to head coach Jim Boeheim, has been placed on administrative leave by Syracuse, which said in a statement Thursday night that it launched a nearly four-month investigation in 2005 after being told by an adult male that he had reported abuse to police.

Syracuse's initial investigation -- as well as earlier probes by ESPN and a newspaper -- fizzled when the accuser's story could not be corroborated by others.

The former ball boy, Bobby Davis, told ESPN's "Outside the Lines" that he was molested by Fine for more than 12 years beginning in 1983, before he was in the seventh grade.

Davis, now 39, was a ball boy at Syracuse for six years starting in 1984. He told ESPN the abuse continued until he was 27 years old. He reported it to Syracuse police in 2003, but was told by a detective the statute of limitations had run out.

ESPN and The Post-Standard, a newspaper in Syracuse, both said Thursday they investigated Davis' allegations in 2003 but could not find a second source or other evidence to verify them and decided not to run the story.

On Thursday, ESPN said it spoke to a second man -- a relative of Davis -- who said he was also molested by Fine around the same time.

The Post-Standard confirmed that Syracuse police were investigating Fine for child molestation.

Davis told ESPN he was subjected to abuse in Fine's home, at the school's basketball facilities and on road trips, including, according to the report, at the 1987 Final Four.

According to a statement issued by the school, Syracuse said it was contacted in 2005 by an adult male who said he reported being abused by an associate men's basketball coach in the 1980s and '90s.

During its investigation, Syracuse interviewed people the accuser said would support his claims. When none of them did, and when the coach also denied the allegations, Syracuse apparently ended its probe.

According to a second statement issued by the school Thursday, Syracuse chancellor Nancy Cantor asked athletic director Daryl Gross to place Fine on administrative leave "in light of the new allegations and the Syracuse City Police investigation."

The allegations, of course, come on the heels of the child sex-abuse scandal that has rocked Penn State. Longtime assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was charged with 40 counts of various sexual crimes against children but has denied he did more than "horsed around" with any of the alleged victims.

Joe Paterno, head football coach at Penn State since 1966, lost his job amid scrutiny he didn't do enough to stop the abuse.

Fine has been a part of Syracuse basketball for Boeheim's entire tenure as head coach. Boeheim, whose 34-year run includes a national championship in 2003, was never told of the abuse, according to Davis.

The alleged victim said Boeheim never asked any questions when he would see Davis lying on Fine's bed during road trips.


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