Syracuse University Head Basketball Coach Defends Assistant Accused of Molesting Ball Boy
Syracuse police are investigating an allegation that long-time Syracuse University assistant men's basketball coach Bernie Fine molested a team ball boy for more than a dozen years.
The alleged victim, Bobby Davis, now 39, told ESPN's Outside the Lines that the molestation started in 1983 when he was in seventh grade.
Davis said the alleged abuse took place at Fine's home, Syracuse basketball facilities and on road trips, including the 1987 Final Four.
A relative of Davis' has also come forward and told ESPN that he was molested by Fine at around the same time.
However, Syracuse's head basketball coach Jim Boeheim blasted the allegations against Fine, telling ESPN Fine's accuser "is lying."
"I know this kid, but I never saw him in any rooms or anything, he said."Its a bunch of a thousand lies he has told. You don't think that it is a little funny that his (relative) is coming forward? He supplied four names to the university that would corroborate his story. None of them did...there is only one side to this story."
The investigation comes nearly two weeks after Penn State was rocked by a child sex-abuse scandal involving former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, who stands accused of sexual abuse involving eight boys.
Fine is currently in his 35th season as an assistant coach. The university said late Thursday that he had been placed on leave.
Davis reportedly never told Boeheim, but contacted Syracuse City Police in 2003. By then, the statute of limitations had expired, and the case was not pursued.
According to Davis, Boeheim was allegedly aware that he shared a hotel room with Fine on road trips.
"Boeheim saw me with Bernie all the time in hotel rooms, on road trips," Davis told Outside the Lines.
"This matter was fully investigated by the University in 2005 and it was determined that the allegations were unfounded. 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," Boeheim said in a statement Thursday.
ESPN notes that in 2003 the Syracuse police chief was Dennis Duval, a former Syracuse basketball player for Boeheim.
A university spokesman said the school learned of the allegations in 2005 and launched its own, four-month investigation but found no evidence to support the claims against Fine, who "vehemently denied the allegations."
"Syracuse University takes any allegation of this sort extremely seriously and has zero tolerance for abuse of any kind," Kevin Quinn, Syracuse's senior vice president for public affairs, said. "If any evidence or corroboration of the allegations had surfaced, we would have terminated the associated coach and reported it to the police immediately."
Quinn said city police had reopened their investigation, and the university is cooperating.
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.