I don’t know about you, but I’m finding it very disturbing that we keep hearing about athletic coaches in positions of authority being accused of molestation and pedophilia. As a father myself, these stories make me cringe.
Long-time Associate Head Basketball Coach to the Syracuse Orangemen, Bernie Fine, is the subject of an investigation by the Syracuse Police amid allegations that he sexually molested a ball boy for a number of years in the 1980’s and 90’s. ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” had this report after interviewing the victim Bobby Davis, who is now 39 years old:
Later Thursday, Syracuse issued another statement: “In light of the new allegations and the Syracuse City Police investigation, this evening Chancellor (Nancy) Cantor asked Director of Athletics Dr. Daryl Gross, to place Associate Head Coach Bernie Fine on administrative leave.”
Messages were left for Fine and Boeheim.
A source told Outside the Lines that Syracuse police and a high-ranking member of the Syracuse University police met on Thursday to discuss the allegation by Davis.
Davis said that Fine molested him at Fine’s home, at the basketball facilities at Syracuse, on recruiting road trips and even at the 1987 Final Four. Davis said he was Fine’s constant companion at all those places. He said Boeheim would come into Fine’s room, and see Davis lying on the Fine’s bed, but never asked him any questions.
Davis said sexual contact with Fine continued until he was around 27.
Davis said he felt bitter emotions over the molestation as sex scandals have emerged in the Catholic Church and lately with former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky.
Davis said he reported the abuse to Syracuse police in 2003, but that a detective told him that the statute of limitations had run out. Davis said the detective told him that if he knew of boys being molested by Fine at the time, that Syracuse police would investigate those allegations. Davis said he told the detective that he thought other boys were being molested but that he had only direct knowledge of Fine molesting him.
At the time, the Syracuse police chief was Dennis Duval, a former Syracuse basketball player. Duval, who retired in 2004, could not be reached for comment. He played at Syracuse from 1971 to 1974, and started with the Syracuse Police Department in 1978. Boeheim became the head coach at Syracuse in 1976, but began as a graduate assistant in 1969.(via)
Jim Boeheim, Head Coach of the Syracuse University basketball team, issued this statement late tonight:
“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.” (Via)
If the charges turn out to be baseless, then Fine deserves all the apologies in the world (and a lesson in avoiding situations where accusations of inappropriate behaviour could be pinned on him). But if Fine turns out to be guilty, then I hope he gets the full punishment of the law. And I wouldn’t want to be Boeheim either, given his statements tonight, coming to Fine’s defense.