In a shining example of what happens when authorities take too long to respond to a legitimate, real complaint, New York prosecutors announced on Wednesday that former Syracuse assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine won’t face charges despite undeniably credible allegations of abuse.
In a press conference on Wednesday, Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick admitted that the statute of limitations had passed as it relates to charges brought against Fine by Bobby Davis and Michael Lang. Davis and Lang -- who are also step-brothers -- were allegedly molested by Fine at various points throughout their childhoods while they served as ball boys for his team.
In the same press conference, Fitzpatrick acknowledged that he believed the allegations made against Fine were strong enough to warrant a trial.
"But for the obvious problem of the statute of limitations, their allegations would have resulted in the arrest of Bernie Fine, at least for the misdemeanor charge of sexual abuse in the third degree," Fitzpatrick said.
"I make no judgment as to what the outcome of a trial would have been, or whether Mike Lang and Bobby Davis could have withstood the rigors of cross-examination," he added. "It is not my place to pronounce Bernie Fine guilty of anything. It is my place, however, especially in light of recent events, to affirm that these two victims are believable."
Davis sought out help from the authorities back in 2002, but it was to no avail. For whatever reason, he was labeled as not credible and his accusations were swiftly dismissed. Davis, specifically, then turned to ESPN and delivered to the network a taped phone conversation between himself and Fine’s wife where she appears to acknowledge that a sexual relationship existed between the pair.
In 2011, ESPN finally verified that the voices on the tape belonged to Davis and Fine’s wife – thereby deeming it authentic.
“Bobby, I’m sorry it took so long. I wish I had met you as a prosecutor back in 2002. More importantly, I wish I had met you as a prosecutor back in the 1980s. We wouldn’t be here today,” Fitzpatrick said during the conference. “Someday your kids are going to ask you why you did what you did. Why did you subject yourself to this scrutiny? Your answer should be easy. You did it because it was the right thing to do.
"And to Mike Lang, who still feels that he could of done more for his brother: Mike it’s never too late to do the right thing.”