Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick said that his office cannot bring charges against former Syracuse assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine during a press conference on Wednesday morning.
Fine was accused by two former Syracuse ball boys-Bobby Davis and Michael Lang-of molesting them back in the 1980s and 90s. Fitzpatrick called both Davis and Lang “credible” but also stated that the statute of limitations had run and criminal charges couldn’t be brought against Fine.
Fine had called the accusations against him “patently false.”
The coach, in his 36th year with Syracuse, was fired when a third accuser, Zach Tomaselli, came forward.
Fitzpatrick launched an investigation into the accusations in November, and several search warrants were executed at Fine’s residence and his office at Syracuse University. The federal authorities have since taken over the investigation.
Syracuse University had learned of the allegations back in 2005 and conducted its own internal investigation. The University turned over its findings to the District Attorney’s Office, and Fitzpatrick called the report “inadequate.”
The story has led to calls for both head coach Jim Boeheim and chancellor Nancy Cantor’s jobs. It has also led many to compare the situation to a sex scandal at Penn State, which led to the dismissal of Joe Paterno, NCAA football’s all time leader in wins.
Fitzpatrick said the situation in Syracuse was was different than Penn State, and also said that the blame shouldn’t be spread to Boeheim or Cantor.
“Hasn’t Bernie Fine caused enough pain in this community?” Fitzpatrick said.
Fitzpatrick also said during the course of his investigation that he had discovered some exculpatory evidence involving Tomaselli. He said that the information would be turned over to federal authorities and that a grand jury investigation into the matter has been closed.
“I encourage any possible victim to draw on the strength of Bobby Davis and Mike Lang and come forward,” Fitzpatrick said.
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