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. leslyn

    AGoFaster58: It's not the media responsible for the election of the President. It's the voters. Just like it's the voters responsible for the current crop of juvenile delinquents (both sides) we have running around in the Congress today.

    December 7, 2011 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
  2. annebeth

    Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick is a JOKE. The cases are too old to prosecute, means that he has better things to do with his time, such as getting a massage or a pedicure, than to get a pedophile off the streets.

    December 7, 2011 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • TomBigD

      No, the statute of limitations means that he cannot legally bring charges because the victims waited too long to report the crime. The sick joke is that New York has a statute of limitations on child molestation. Also, why did the police department refuse to cooperate with the DA? Sounds like a cover up to me.

      December 7, 2011 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Portland tonyxvc

    There are Mega Dollar lawsuits he still must contend with!

    December 7, 2011 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Leaf on the Wind

      Does he HAVE mega dollars?

      December 7, 2011 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Portland tonyxvc

      If he wasn't vetted, the University sure has!

      December 7, 2011 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
  4. ProperVillain

    What do you know. Another "famous" sports related person let off the hook! We have a great justice system here, don't we? Just remember folks, if you are famous or rich, you can get away with anything in the good ol' US of A!

    December 7, 2011 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Bill

    Statue of Limitations eh? Nice job CNN.

    December 7, 2011 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Laura

      I wonder if a college degree is even required for a job writing headlines for CNN. This is 5th grade vocabulary, folks!

      December 7, 2011 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Ron Grimes

    That law needs changing fast. Especially in the New England states..........just saying..

    December 7, 2011 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
  7. unknown

    Davis alleged the inappropriateness occurred until he was 27. 27??? Why the hell did he not put an end to it long before then?

    December 7, 2011 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Leaf on the Wind

      If you don't understand the abuser/victim pathology, try reading up on it. There's more to it than just the physical abuse. It's about power more than anything else.

      December 7, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Digusted

    This statute of limitations need to go. The victim's pain is always there and these beasts roam around free? Please tell me where's the justice in that.

    December 7, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
  9. aja

    And exactly what does a "Statue of limitations" look like????

    December 7, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Statute of Limitations got you down?

    No problem. Just bring him up on a new charge. Specifically, statutory raype. That'll get him at least 20 years behind bars.

    December 7, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  11. leeintulsa

    I can't believe there is a statute of limitations for that. The victim's alive, and probably in some ways still being victimized. IF he did it..

    December 7, 2011 at 6:49 pm | Report abuse |
  12. ***Ground-Floor Opportunity (of a lifetime)***

    @lee. "If" my ass.

    December 8, 2011 at 12:02 am | Report abuse |
  13. ***Ground-Floor Opportunity (of a lifetime)***

    ...imagine knowing that the "ALIEN" flying saucer's death rays could only blow up vehicles fueled by bio ethanol fuels. And that they could only see through your walls if you didn't use lead-based paint. Chew on that, lee.

    December 8, 2011 at 12:11 am | Report abuse |
  14. ***Ground-Floor Opportunity (of a lifetime)***

    Google "sandusky timeline". This old fart has been around, lee. "If" ny ass.

    December 8, 2011 at 12:15 am | Report abuse |
  15. رأفت طنينه


    December 12, 2011 at 5:45 am | Report abuse |
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