Assistant coach Bernie Fine has been at Syracuse University for 35 years, but, now, the legendary side kick to head coach Jim Boeheim is under police investigation for sexual abuse of a former ball boy.
As many college sports fans watched in horror as the sexual abuse story of Penn State University, its head coach Joe Paterno and former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky unfolded, many silently hoped that a story like that wasn't going to surface in their neck of the woods.
Well, as of Thursday night, ESPN.com is reporting that long-time Syracuse University men's basketball assistant coach Bernie Fine has been placed on administrative leave after news broke that he is under police investigation for sexual molestation of a former ball boy.
"The alleged victim, Bobby Davis, now 39, told Outside the Lines that Fine molested him beginning in 1983 shortly before Davis entered the seventh grade," writes ESPN.com writers Mark Schwarz and Arty Berko. "The team's ball boy for six years beginning in 1984, said the abuse occurred at Fine's home, at the Syracuse basketball facilities, and on road trips, including the 1987 Final Four."
ESPN.com also mentioned that a second person, a relative of Davis, said he was molested by Fine.
"We are in the very early stages of an investigation," Sgt. Tom Connellan said to Syracuse.com writer Robert A. Baker.
"Information was brought to us today," Connellan said.
While he confirmed that Fine was being investigated by the police department on charges of child molestation, Connellan would not comment on who brought the information to police or talk of any part of the investigation.
Already, information is trickling in that Syracuse University conducted its own investigation in 2005, but did not find any wrong-doing. Also, long-time head coach, Jim Boeheim, who is currently in the midst of his 36th season at SU, was never told of this incidents, but did see Fine with Davis frequently.
Here's a full transcript of what ESPN.com's Mark Schwarz told SportCenter anchor John Anderson Thursday night :
"(According to Davis) It started when he was fifth grader, and met Bernie Fine, who was, as he put it, the king of Syracuse, as a long time assistant of Jim Boeheim, selling candy bars at Bernie Fine's house," said Schwartz in an interview with SportCenter anchor John Anderson. "Every kid, in that neiborhood, wanted to be one of the kids hanging around Bernie Fine."
"There were many in that house hanging around Bernie and his family. And, Boby told us that when he started to spend more time with Bernie. Berine began doing things for him that a young man without his own father could have never done for himself."
"He made him the ball boy for about six year on the basketball team. He introduced him to players. He got him a seat at the front row at the game. He took him to Hawaii twice. Tournament games. He took him to New York for the Big East Tournament. He took him to the Final Four in 1987."
Now, his contact with Bobby began innocently enough, Bobby thought, when he rubbed Bobby Davis' leg. But, after a time, the summer of Bobby's seventh grade year, that rubbing of the leg turned to the rubbing of Bobby's penis."
"And, when this first started to happen, Bobby said he didn't know what to make of it. He pushed coach Fine away. He was competently torn because he didn't know why this man who became like his father was touching him in his private place. He told Bernie, 'I don't want to do that Bernie. Leave me alone' Well, Bernie persisted and as year went on, Bernie Fine, according to Bobby Davis, grabbed his penis, pulled on his penis and got him to ejaculate on many accusations. Bobby told me that this happened, probably, a hundred, if not, a thousand times that Bernie Fine was touching him, finding him and bringing him to a basement room, to a secluded place, locking an office door behind him so no one could see."
Bringing Bobby on recruiting trips and to hotel rooms during tournaments and sharing a room with this young teenage boy for many years -- from sixth grade all the way through high school. He helped Bobby get to college. He stayed in touch with Bobby until he was 27 years old. And, the sexual abuse continued from a period of 15 to 16 years."
"Outside the Lines reported Thursday that it initially investigated Davis' claims in 2003 but decided against running the story because no additional alleged victims were willing to talk. But in recent days, according to the report, a second man -- inspired to finally talk because of the ongoing Penn State scandal -- contacted Outside the Lines with information alleging Fine had also molested him, which led to ESPN opting to run the story."
It also must be noted that at the time of the reported sexual abuse to the police (2003), the police chief was former Syracuse basketball player Dennis Duval.
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