Federal criminal charges will not be filed against former Syracuse assistant basketball coach Bernard "Bernie" Fine, who was accused of sexually abusing children, U.S. Attorney Richard S. Hartunian announced Friday.
A yearlong investigation of Fine "revealed insufficient evidence to pursue federal criminal charges," according to the U.S. attorney's office for the Northern District of New York. As a result, the office is closing its investigation, it said.
Fine was fired from his Syracuse job in November 2011 after Syracuse ball boys Mike Lang and Bobby Davis, Lang's stepbrother, stepped forward to accuse the coach of molesting them over several years.
State prosecutors in December said that despite credible allegations from Davis and Lang, they could not bring charges against Fine because the statute of limitations had expired.
A third accuser, Zachary Tomaselli, said this year that he had fabricated allegations against the coach.
When the allegations first surfaced, Fine – married with a son and two daughters – called them "patently false."
In determining whether to file federal charges, the U.S. attorney's office said Friday that it "applied the Department of Justice's principles of federal prosecution, which provide for seeking an indictment only if 'the person’s conduct constitutes a federal offense and ... the admissible evidence will probably be sufficient to obtain and sustain a conviction.'"
"We have concluded that the investigation has not developed sufficient credible evidence of the commission of a prosecutable offense to merit either federal charges or a referral to a district attorney's office for state prosecution. As a result, we are closing our investigation," the office said in a news release.
"The closure of our investigation does not constitute a determination of what did or did not happen – only that a thorough investigation has not revealed sufficient admissible evidence to obtain and sustain a federal conviction. Mr. Fine retains the presumption of innocence that is an integral aspect of our system of justice," the release said.
Read this story for more details about Friday's developments.