No federal criminal charges against ex-coach Fine, feds say
Syracuse fired assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine in November 2011.
November 9th, 2012
10:11 AM ET

No federal criminal charges against ex-coach Fine, feds say

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.

soundoff (28 Responses)
  1. Cosmo

    Uh, dude, this is about Syracuse, not Penn State, try to actually READ the article before commenting please...

    November 9, 2012 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Big Moo

      The guy thinks that Sandusky, Paterno, and Penn State were not guilty of anything, do you really expect him to actually read the article and understand the difference knowing that information??

      November 9, 2012 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
  2. Scared

    Did you actually type the words "vindication" and "sandusky" in the same sentence and intend them to be used together?

    My Lord, it is just a school, get over it. WE ARE DISGUSTED

    November 9, 2012 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
  3. lindaluttrell

    If these were Federal charges, how did the statue of limitations run out on this one and not on Sandusky??? Anyone? I'm a little confused by this one.

    November 9, 2012 at 10:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Chris Pritt

      The statute of limitations had run out on the state charges. The statute of limitations for charging him federally had not expired. However, the federal investigators determined they had insufficient evidence that they would likely convict.

      November 9, 2012 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
  4. Sean_G

    Bernie Fine's situation is so drastically different from Sandusky's. The accusations were similar, but the evidence just wasn't there on Fine. Add to that, several of Fine's accusors admitted they lied... totally different.

    November 9, 2012 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Cuervo Jones

      one lied. the others have a tape recording of his wife admitting things happened.

      November 9, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Hide Behind

    This vinficates no one, it just leaves questions of possibilitys still unresolved, to mever be resolved by any but for those involved.
    Look beyond your tu tu's and pom poms. For there is mention of time limitation that so many people of low character love to hide their loves of self behind.
    PREPONDERANCE of evidence does not mran there is an ability of it to be used in a court room. But for time to hide the truth seems a real crime against justice.

    November 9, 2012 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
  6. Big Moo

    Yes, please keep sticking your head in the sand. OF course the entire US government fabricated the entire story against Sandusky. Clearly everyone was out to get him. I'm sure that Sandusky's adopted son was paid no doubt to fabricate additional accusations against him. Clearly all the overwhelming evidence against Sandusky is nothing but fantasy.

    I really cannot understand how anyone could defend the actions involved of Paterno, Sandusky, and the hierarchy of Penn State's senior staff to avoid the black mark of having not only hired a child molester, but conducted themselves into protecting him so he could continue his pederastic behavior.

    November 9, 2012 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
  7. Laman

    Bernie Fine got off because he is a founding member of the Jewish Coaches Association.

    November 9, 2012 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
  8. banasy©

    This person has many usernames and is one of the most prolific trolls here...why it is allowed is beyond me.
    Cnn and WordPress must be complicit to continue toallow it.

    November 9, 2012 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
  9. banasy©

    Pedophilia and being gay are two different things, so get of your soapbox and research the difference between the two.
    Thank you.

    November 9, 2012 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
  10. crazy media

    Wasnt Bernie Fine one of the lost Stooge brothers from the 3 Stooges?

    November 9, 2012 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
  11. bthumble

    and you are mentally ill

    November 9, 2012 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
  12. bthumble

    how does it feel to be completely irrelevant?

    November 9, 2012 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  13. banasy©

    I feel you are trolling.

    November 9, 2012 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
  14. Dan in Syracuse

    If this is the case, then Mr. Fine should get his job back as a Syracuse Basketball Asst coach...

    November 9, 2012 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
    • Anders Behring Breivik (King of the Island)

      Agree because it is actually Jim Boeheim who likes taking boyz up in his room during road trips.

      November 9, 2012 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
  15. J e f f F r a n k (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    Finally a place where ALL perps are forgiven and will walk again.
    Let's all embrace the moment, and reign in the New World (communist) Order 😉

    November 9, 2012 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      I'm sorry, Jeff Frank, but you seem to have "lack of evidence" confused with "communism"...

      November 9, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
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