Updated 11/17/2011 10:24 PM
SU associate basketball coach on administrative leave following child molestation accusations
Just two weeks after a child sex abuse scandal devastated Penn State, a longtime Syracuse University associate basketball coach has been put on administrative leave following accusations he molested a child in the 1980s. ESPN first reported the story Thursday evening and Syracuse police confirm they are in the early stages of an investigation. Erin Clarke has more.
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SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Longtime associate basketball coach Bernie Fine has been put on administrative leave following an investigation into allegations of child molestation.
ESPN is reporting that long time assistant Bernie Fine is under investigation for molesting a ball boy back in the 1980s.
Syracuse Police confirm they are in the early stages of an investigation, but are not releasing any other information.
Earlier Thursday evening, ESPN reported 39-year-old Bobby Davis had come forward with allegations against Fine. In an article, ESPN said Davis told them the abuse started in 1983 and that it went on for more than a dozen years.
Davis told ESPN he decided to tell his story after seeing the coverage of the Jerry Sandusky case.
Syracuse Police say Davis went to ESPN with the claims of abuse before going to police.
The University announced Fine was being put on leave just after 8:30 p.m. Thursday.
In a statement from SU's Public Affairs office, Kevin Quinn said the University was first contacted about this case in 2005 and that "On hearing of the allegations in 2005, the University immediately launched its own comprehensive investigation. “He goes on to say, "All of those identified by the complainant denied any knowledge of wrongful conduct by the associate coach."
The university says it will do whatever it can to cooperate with police as the investigation gets underway.
“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.”
“In light of the new allegations and the Syracuse City Police investigation, this evening Chancellor Cantor asked Director of Athletics Dr. Daryl Gross, to place Associate Head Coach Bernie Fine on administrative leave.”
“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."
--Syracuse University head men's basketball coach Jim Boeheim