Feds drop sex abuse case against Syracuse's Fine - New York News

Feds drop sex abuse case against Syracuse's Fine

Posted: Updated:

By JOHN KEKIS

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) — Federal authorities have dropped their investigation into sexual abuse claims that cost a Syracuse University assistant basketball coach his job, threw a top-ranked team into turmoil and threatened the career of Hall of Fame coach Jim Boeheim.

After a probe spanning nearly a year, U.S. Attorney Richard Hartunian said Friday there was no evidence to support claims that Bernie Fine had molested a boy in 2002 in a Pittsburgh hotel room.

"The nature and seriousness of these allegations, which involved conduct typically committed in private with individuals who are reluctant to come forward, warranted a thorough federal investigation," Hartunian said.

Fine's lawyer did not immediately return a call seeking comment. It wasn't clear yet whether Fine could get his job back.

The investigation erupted in the glare of a spotlight on child abuse shone by the Penn State University scandal that broke shortly beforehand. Two former Syracuse ballboys, Bobby Davis and Michael Lang, came forward Nov. 17 and accused the longtime assistant of fondling them when they were teens. Davis said the sexual contact continued for years.

But the claims by Davis and Lang had happened too long ago to be prosecuted. Ten days later, though, a third man, 23-year-old Zachary Tomaselli, of Lewiston, Maine, went public with his accusation that Fine had molested him in 2002 in a hotel room when the team played in Pittsburgh. The same day, ESPN aired an audiotape in which Fine's wife, Laurie, apparently acknowledged to Davis she knew about the molestation.

Fine, who denied the allegations, was fired Nov. 27, and the federal government began investigating Tomaselli's claim, the only one that fell within the statute of limitations. The federal statute of limitations that went into effect in 2002 allows prosecution until the victim reaches age 25; Tomaselli was 23 when he made his claims.

From the start, there were doubts about the claims.

Davis had made the same accusation against Fine to the university and Syracuse police a decade before, but the police couldn't investigate because of the statute of limitations, and the school said its probe turned up no evidence of wrongdoing.

When Davis and Lang came forward in November, Boeheim angrily defended his assistant of 35 years and said the accusers were only out for money, seeking to cash in on the publicity generated by the Penn State scandal, in which former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was charged with sexually abusing several boys.

Another accuser, Floyd Van Hooser, said Fine abused him for years but later said he was lying.

That left Tomaselli, who was himself accused of sexually abusing a boy at a camp in 2010 and whose father had said the boy was lying. Tomaselli was eventually convicted of sexual abuse and started a prison sentence of three years and three months in April.

 

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

  • Sports NewsSports NewsMore>>

  • Outdoor basketball courts losing popularity

    Outdoor basketball courts losing popularity

    Friday, July 25 2014 8:35 AM EDT2014-07-25 12:35:16 GMT
    Believe it or not this, some say New York's outdoor basketball courts are a dying entity. Even Rucker Park in Harlem -- where Dr. J and countless others honed their skills -- used to be standing room only all times of the day. Now there's plenty of room to stand on most days.Basketball programs like one at Chelsea Piers are gaining popularity. That means the place to hoop it up for many appears to be indoors.
    Believe it or not this, some say New York's outdoor basketball courts are a dying entity. Even Rucker Park in Harlem -- where Dr. J and countless others honed their skills -- used to be standing room only all times of the day. Now there's plenty of room to stand on most days.Basketball programs like one at Chelsea Piers are gaining popularity. That means the place to hoop it up for many appears to be indoors.
  • Jets eliminating paper season tickets

    Jets eliminating paper season tickets

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 2:04 PM EDT2014-07-22 18:04:58 GMT
    The New York Jets are doing away with paper tickets for season ticket holders, while offering those fans a rewards plan for showing up regularly and behaving properly.
    The New York Jets are doing away with paper tickets for season ticket holders, while offering those fans a rewards plan for showing up regularly and behaving properly.
  • Major League Baseball

    How Mets and Yankees can improve or contend in 2014

    How Mets and Yankees can improve or contend in 2014

    Monday, July 21 2014 9:55 PM EDT2014-07-22 01:55:20 GMT
    With the All-Star break over and the second half of the MLB season well underway, the New York Mets (46-52 as of July 20) and the New York Yankees (50-47 as of July 20) find themselves in the same situations each team is accustomed to at this time of the season. The Yankees are in the middle of the AL East Division title while the Mets are scrapping for every win possible to stay relevant in the NL East. But while the record says one thing, reality says another.
    With the All-Star break over and the second half of the MLB season well underway, the New York Mets (46-52 as of July 20) and the New York Yankees (50-47 as of July 20) find themselves in the same situations each team is accustomed to at this time of the season. The Yankees are in the middle of the AL East Division title while the Mets are scrapping for every win possible to stay relevant in the NL East. But while the record says one thing, reality says another.
  • New York State NewsNew York State NewsMore>>

  • Hudson River Sloop Clearwater

    Pete Seeger's environmental legacy lives on

    Pete Seeger's environmental legacy lives on

    Friday, July 25 2014 6:16 PM EDT2014-07-25 22:16:30 GMT
    American folk singer and activist Pete Seeger's passion for music and the environment embodied who he was every single day of his life. In 1966, Seeger co-founded the organization Hudson River Sloop Clearwater. Ever since, Seeger's 106-foot-long sloop, Clearwater, has been sailing up and down the Hudson River to educate and inspire children to protect the environment.
    American folk singer and activist Pete Seeger's passion for music and the environment embodied who he was every single day of his life. In 1966, Seeger co-founded the organization Hudson River Sloop Clearwater. Ever since, Seeger's 106-foot-long sloop, Clearwater, has been sailing up and down the Hudson River to educate and inspire children to protect the environment.
  • Prison officers block news crew from tourist site

    Prison officers block news crew from tourist site

    Friday, July 25 2014 5:25 PM EDT2014-07-25 21:25:19 GMT
    An upstate New York TV crew was threatened with arrest by corrections officers as they filmed at a public historic site on the grounds of an empty, soon-to-be-closed state prison.
    An upstate New York TV crew was threatened with arrest by corrections officers as they filmed at a public historic site on the grounds of an empty, soon-to-be-closed state prison.
  • New York suggests summer shutdown for Indian Point

    New York suggests summer shutdown for Indian Point

    Friday, July 25 2014 3:08 PM EDT2014-07-25 19:08:24 GMT
    A state agency is suggesting summer shutdowns at the Indian Point nuclear power plant in the New York suburbs. The idea is to protect migrating and spawning fish who might otherwise get sucked into the plant. Indian Point takes 2.5 billion gallons a day from the Hudson River to make steam and cool its two reactors.
    A state agency is suggesting summer shutdowns at the Indian Point nuclear power plant in the New York suburbs. The idea is to protect migrating and spawning fish who might otherwise get sucked into the plant. Indian Point takes 2.5 billion gallons a day from the Hudson River to make steam and cool its two reactors.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices