Long time Syracuse assistant coach Bernie Fine is being investigated by Syracuse police for allegedly molesting a team ball boy back in the 1980s, said an ESPN report released on Thursday night. Fine has been placed on administrative leave as a result of the investigation, according to school officials.
The ESPN report also stated that Syracuse University had done its own investigation in 2005. Additionally, the report stated that the Syracuse Police Department declined to pursue the matter because the statute of limitations had passed.
Fine has been an assistant under head coach Jim Boeheim for the past 35 years.
“This matter was fully investigated by the University in 2005 and it was determined that the allegations were unfounded,” Boeheim said in a statement. “I have known Bernie Fine for more than 40 years. I have never seen or witnessed anything to suggest that he would been involved in any of the activities alleged. Had I seen or suspected anything, I would have taken action. Bernie has my full support.”
The announcement of the investigation comes approximately two weeks after a child sex-abuse scandal rocked Penn State when former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky was indicted on charges of sexually abusing eight boys over a 15 year period.
In response to the news report, Syracuse University released a statement by Kevin Quinn, Syracuse’s senior vice president for public affairs.
“In 2005, Syracuse University was contacted by an adult male who told us that he had reported to the Syracuse City Police that he had been subjected to inappropriate contact by an associate men’s basketball coach. The alleged activity took place in the 1980’s and 1990’s. We were informed by the complainant that the Syracuse City Police had declined to pursue the matter because the statute of limitations had expired.
“On hearing of the allegations in 2005, the University immediately launched its own comprehensive investigation through its legal counsel. That nearly four-month long investigation included a number of interviews with people the complainant said would support his claims. All of those identified by the complainant denied any knowledge of wrongful conduct by the associate coach. The associate coach also vehemently denied the allegations.
“Syracuse University takes any allegation of this sort extremely seriously and has zero tolerance for abuse of any kind. If any evidence or corroboration of the allegations had surfaced, we would have terminated the associate coach and reported it to the police immediately. We understand that the Syracuse City Police has now reopened the case, and Syracuse University will cooperate fully. We are steadfastly committed ensuring that SU remains a safe place for every member of our campus community.”