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Syracuse University Fires Bernie Fine Following Molestation Accusations

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Nov. 28 2011, Published 9:30 a.m. ET

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By Staff

Longtime Syracuse University assistant hoops coach Bernie Fine was fired Sunday night in the wake of accusations he molested at least three ballboys.

"At the direction of Chancellor Cantor, Bernie Fine’s employment with Syracuse University has been terminated, effective immediately," Syracuse University's senior vice president for public affairs, Kevin Quinn, said in a statement.

Syracuse Head Coach Jim Boeheim said "the university took the appropriate step" in dismissing Fine, his longtime right-hand man.

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"The allegations that have come forth today are disturbing and deeply troubling," Boeheim said in a statement. "I am personally very shocked because I have never witnessed any of the activities that have been alleged.

“What is most important is that this matter be fully investigated and that anyone with information be supported to come forward so that the truth can be found."

Three men have accused Bernie Fine of sexually abusing them while they were teenagers: Zach Tomaselli, 23, who claims Fine violated him in 2002 in a Pittsburgh hotel room; Mike Lang, 45, who told ESPN Fine molested him while he was in elementary school; and Bobby Davis, 39, who said Fine began molesting him in 1984, and the abuse continued for years.

Davis secretly recorded a telephone conversation with Fine’s wife Laurie — in which she can be heard admitting she knew of the molestation — that was broadcast Sunday on ESPN. Davis told ESPN's Outside the Lines he recorded the conversation in 2002 after reporting his allegations to the Syracuse police, which went nowhere.

"I know everything that went on, you know," Laurie Fine said on the call. "I know everything that went on with him ... Bernie has issues, maybe that he's not aware of, but he has issues. ... And you trusted somebody you shouldn't have trusted ... you know, he needs that male companionship that I can't give him, nor is he interested in me, and vice versa.”

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The call was legally recorded, ESPN pointed out, noting that Davis was in Utah at the time while Laurie Davis was in New York, with both being one-party states, meaning only one person needs to be aware of the recording.

Boeheim initially sided with Fine, telling the Post-Standard that Davis saw dollar signs in his accusations against the 65-year-old coach.

"The Penn State thing came out, and the kid behind this is trying to get money," Boeheim said. "He's tried before. And now he's trying again. If he gets this, he's going to sue the university and Bernie. What do you think is going to happen at Penn State? You know how much money is going to be involved in civil suits? I'd say about $50 million.

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“That's what this is about: Money."

In his statement Sunday, Boeheim apologized for "any statements I made that might have inhibited that from occurring or been insensitive to victims of abuse."

As previously reported, federal, state and local law enforcement converged on Fine's home outside Syracuse Friday night, removing everything from file cabinets to patio furniture and taking hundreds of photographs while serving their search warrant.



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