Syracuse Coach Jim Boeheim Defends Bernie Fine from Molestation Accusations

| by Alex Groberman

Jim Boeheim, head coach of the Syracuse men's basketball team, categorically rejects the idea that his longtime assistant Bernie Fine molested two ball boys.

According to ESPN, two former Syracuse ball boys allege that they were molested by Fine starting in the late 1970s and continuing all the way into the 1990s. One of the alleged former victims, 39-year-old Bobby Davis, told Outside the Lines that Fine molested him for six years, beginning in 1984 when he started to work as a ball boy for Syracuse. The abuse was said to have occurred at Fine’s home, Syracuse basketball facilities and on road trips.

Davis maintains that his sexual contact with Fine lasted until he was 27 years old.

The second alleged victim, 45-year-old Mike Lang, was also a ball boy for the team. He told Outside the Lines that Fine molested him starting from when he was in the fifth or sixth grade.

Davis and Lang are step brothers.

Police in Syracuse have said that they opened an investigation to look into the matter, and Syracuse University announced on Thursday that Fine had been placed on administrative leave.

Boeheim, who has worked with Fine for 35 seasons, immediately came to his assistant’s aid.  

"I know this kid, but I never saw him in any rooms or anything," Boeheim told ESPN. "It is a bunch of a thousand lies that he has told. You don't think it is a little funny that his cousin (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. He is lying."

He also added:

"We spoke to the people (Davis) asked the university to talk to," Boeheim said. "Not one person would corroborate his story."

"Why wouldn't he come to the police (first this time)? Why would he go to ESPN? What are people looking for here? I believe they are looking for money. I believe they saw what happened at Penn State and they are using ESPN to get money. That is what I believe. You want to put that on the air? Put that on the air."

Syracuse’s senior vice president for public affairs came forward with this statement on the matter:

"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 associated 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."

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