December 7th, 2011
11:21 AM ET

DA: Bernie Fine accusers credible, but statue of limitations expired

[Updated at 12:05 p.m. ET] A district attorney in central New York says that despite credible allegations of sexual misconduct against minors, he cannot bring charges against a former Syracuse University assistant basketball coach because the statute of limitations has expired.

Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick offered a personal apology to Bobby Davis, a former Syracuse ball boy who says he informed Syracuse police in 2002 that he was subjected to inappropriate sexual contact by Bernie Fine.

Davis, now 39, alleges the former coach touched him inappropriately beginning in 1984, before he entered seventh grade, and the abuse continued until he was 27.

Timeline of Bernie Fine case

Fitzpatrick said was forced to get a subpoena to compel Syracuse police to hand over records related to the case.

Mike Lang, a stepbrother of Davis, also accused Fine of inappropriately touching him at various locations, including university basketball facilities. Similar allegations made by Zach Tomaselli, 23, are still being investigated by federal authorities.

Fine has not been charged with a crime and has maintained his innocence, saying the allegations are "patently false in every aspect." Syracuse fired him last month after Davis reiterated his allegations in an interview with ESPN and Lang went public with his allegations.

The district attorney's announcement comes after federal agents searched the home and office of the former coach, looking for possible evidence of his alleged interactions with minors, according to unsealed court documents.

The investigation at Syracuse comes in the wake of a sex abuse scandal at Penn State University, in which former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was accused of sexually abusing boys over a span of 14 years. Sandusky has maintained his innocence throughout the investigation - saying he only "horsed around" with the disadvantaged boys in his care - and is currently free on $100,000 bail.

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Filed under: Basketball • College basketball • Crime • New York • Syracuse
soundoff (88 Responses)
  1. Jason

    Go Orange...I fully support coach Jim...and parents please watch and pay attention to your children...'nuff said

    December 7, 2011 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
    • A guy

      You're blaming the parents for their children being preyed upon by a child molester because you like a sports team? Perhaps some perspective is in order.

      December 7, 2011 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
    • A guy

      Also, maybe you should shy away from openly supporting people who are accused by multiple people of molestation. I mean, one accuser is one thing, but I will bet you an NCAA championship that this guy is guilty as sin. And you're going on record supporting him because you like the way he coaches a game, as if that's related to whether or not he molests children. It boggles the mind

      December 7, 2011 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Carol

      Football is God and MONEY so lets allow the molesters to flouish at our universities? These men are a disgrace and so are the schools that they hide behind.

      December 7, 2011 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • FFS

      You support child molesters? Go, you. Moron. And don't reproduce, k?

      December 7, 2011 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      A Guy... He is supporting the head coach.. not the accused molester... understand??

      December 7, 2011 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Really???

      Jason, you, sir, are clearly an imbecile.

      December 7, 2011 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Megan

      He said he supports "Coach Jim" who is accused of nothing. I also support Boeheim (The BASKETBALL, not football coach). Try reading for comprehension people.

      December 7, 2011 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • YeahISaidItSoWhat?

      Jason, without question you win the 2011 Darwin Award. The only hard thing about figuring out your post is to determine if you're an idiot, an imbecile, a moron, or a hybrid of all three.

      December 7, 2011 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fred

      Wow, blaming the parents? Sure, he hasn't been found guilty of anything but, but it sounds like you are blaming parents for the actions of child molesters in general. That's a classic sociopathic view.

      December 7, 2011 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Josh Davis

      I'm with Jason.

      December 7, 2011 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sean

      Gota love modern parenting. Please explain to me how in anyway the statement: “and parents please watch and pay attention to your children”. is in anyway a negative thing.

      December 7, 2011 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jamie

    I thought this article was about the Syracuse coach? Why does the Penn State scandal need to be referenced when the Fine Scandal and the Sandusky Scandal are two separate cases.

    December 7, 2011 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Wild Red Berry

      It's all the same stuff, Einstein, that's why.

      December 7, 2011 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Rod

      The Bernie Fine accuser stated that he brought this up again because of the Sandusky allegations. They are related stories.

      December 7, 2011 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
  3. doug

    The Feds will charge him. He shouldn't sleep any better tonight than last night.

    December 7, 2011 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
    • guitarman71

      Yep....if the allegations that Fine took the one accuser on a Syracuse road trip and molested him in Pittsburgh (as the accuser has claimed), then it's a federal case no matter what due to crossing state lines, etc. The fact the local DA isn't bringing charges won't matter. Should these allegations turn out to be true – it is really hard to imagine that Boeheim didn't have a clue as to why Fine brought this kid along on Syracuse road game trips. He had to be aware on some level or at least suspect Fine was up to no good as these types of allegations against Fine have been ongoing since the early 90s.

      December 7, 2011 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Sue

      CNN left out the part about the DA finding the third accuser (Tomaselli) the one you are referring to as not credible and that they discovered evidence (school records etc. that will assist in Fine's defense.) The jury is still out on the first two accusers.

      December 7, 2011 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
  4. James


    Becuase the former SU ball boys came out with the accusations "in light" of the Penn State scandal. If that would not have happened, this would still be in the closet.

    December 7, 2011 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
  5. Rajiv Shaw

    This guy will thoroughly enjoy his stay in prison. Inmates have a 'special' bond for child molesters.

    December 7, 2011 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
  6. Lwg

    Invcestigate , find, if its true that something has happened, than prosecute, but people dont jump to conclusions, that could make things woese

    December 7, 2011 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
  7. andy b

    Bernie Fine should be next to his brother Bernie Madoff for the rest of his life, they will for sure serve both of them Kosher Hot Dogs in Jail

    December 7, 2011 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mitch

    I wish there was a statue of limitation on the effects of abuse.

    December 7, 2011 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Josh Davis

      Or on your comments. Ugh.

      December 7, 2011 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Mitch

    And just maybe that person in prison, would not be in prison, if it were not for the abuse of this coach. Being one that was abused for years, as a 49 year old adult I trust no one. I have been in pain for the last 43 years.

    December 7, 2011 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nurse143

      It may not help everyone, but reading the book "Strong at the broken places" by Linda Sanford helped me put my own childhood abuse into perspective and take my power back. Mitch – that heavy baggage has been carried too long.

      December 7, 2011 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Really?

    There's really a state statute of limitations against raping kids? Why on earth would there be a statute of limitations for that? That needs to be overturned ASAP.

    December 7, 2011 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
  11. jefflazrn

    statute not statue idiots...

    December 7, 2011 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Martoon

    Parents, what a great opportunity to have a talk with your kids. I did. I pointed out what real honor and character mean - not just when its easy, but when difficult decisions have to be made. Like when you find out that a co-worker and friend is breaking the law and hurting children, but you sweep it under the rug to protect your football program (or company or family name). That is not character nor integrity nor honor. It's the choices we make that show our character (or lack thereof). My son now understands...

    December 7, 2011 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Big_D

    Predators are sick and it is only a matter of time if the witness is credible. They will catch him eventually.

    December 7, 2011 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Kevin O.

    What makes these judges not want to investigate this person? Who cares if the statutes are expired if it's very possible he's still molesting children?

    Lock him up for 72 hours and give him the full panel screen.

    December 7, 2011 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Greg, Ontario

    The abuse continued until he was 27??? Why wouldn't he kick his fat butt and then hand over what was left to the police? Unless at some point it became a mutual consent situation. Any lawyers around that can comment on it? I'm curious to a point. Myself I would jail for life all pedophiles and they could live the abuse of the general population as long as they could.

    December 7, 2011 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
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