DA: Syracuse Statute Of Limitations Has Passed In Bernie Fine Case

Expresses Anger Over Pivotal 2002 Recording Not Being Given To Police

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WFAN/CBSNewYork/AP) —  A county district attorney who at first sharply criticized police and Syracuse University for their handling of sex-abuse allegations against an assistant basketball coach said Wednesday that he cannot bring charges but found that two men who accused him of sexual abuse are credible.

Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick said his investigation into the claims against fired coach Bernie Fine started out to answer several questions, among them: Were the first two accusers, Bobby Davis and his stepbrother Michael Lang, being truthful?

“On almost every single criteria, Bobby Davis came out as a credible person,” the district attorney said. “Mike Lang also comes across as a credible person.”

In fact, Fitzpatrick said it wouldn’t have happened on his watch, reports CBS 2’s John Slattery.

“Bobby, if I had been prosecutor, this wouldn’t have happened,” Fitzpatrick said.

The accusations against Fine once appeared to threaten the job of Hall of Fame coach Jim Boeheim, who has said he is unaware of any abuses happening during his tenure. The 65-year-old Fine, who had been Boeheim’s top assistant since 1976, has adamantly denied wrongdoing.

Boeheim at first vehemently defended his longtime friend and assistant and said the accusations were lies to make money in the wake of the Penn State sex abuse scandal. He later backtracked and said he was wrong to question the motives of the accusers.

Davis and Lang, both former ball boys for the team, have accused Fine of molesting them at his home, on the road with the team or in team facilities when they were boys. Fitzpatrick said allegations from a third man, 23-year-old Zach Tomaselli of Maine, don’t relate to Onondaga County.

“Bobby, I’m sorry it took so long,” Fitzpatrick said.

Fitzpatrick said a 2005 probe by the university into Davis’ claims was inadequate but said people should stop calling for the resignation of Syracuse Chancellor Nancy Cantor and Boeheim.

Blame, he said, stops with one man: “Hasn’t Bernie Fine caused enough pain in this community?” Fitzpatrick said.

He said it also was wrong to make any comparison to the sex scandal at Penn State University that cost legendary football coach Joe Paterno and school president Graham Spanier their jobs.

“It’s not only inaccurate, it’s not fair,” he said.

Fine was fired after the three men made public accusations and ESPN played a 2002 recording of a phone call in which a woman ESPN identified as his wife tells an accuser she knew “everything that went on.”

“The significance of this tape cannot be overstated,” said Fitzpatrick. “Anyone listening to that tape cannot fail to understand that Bobby Davis is not being truthful, which makes it all the more confusing as to why the very people whose job it is to determine credibility, sufficiency of corroboration, what investigative leads to follow, namely Onondaga County prosecutors, were never informed of the existence of the tape and neither was the Syracuse police department. This was not a confidential source. Bobby Davis wanted his name to come forward.”

Tomaselli’s claims fall within federal statutes of limitations and are being investigated by the U.S. Secret Service.

Investigators searched Fine’s home, office and school locker, looking for pornography that could be used “to sexually arouse or groom young males” to have sex, court records say. The investigators took computers, cameras, disks and records, among other things. They’re also looking for any records that would detail Fine’s contact with boys.

Fitzpatrick said he wouldn’t judge Fine.

“It is not my place to pronounce Bernie Fine guilty of anything,” he said.

Are you surprised that Fine isn’t being charged? Sound off below…

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  • biker141

    what the hell is wrong with this country that there is a statute of limitations on molesting a child, we all know our polititions like that they rape the citizens of our country everyday. if this guy gets off after doing what he did to kids i hope he gets at least a few weeks in jail ,that way he might just get what he deserves. the guy is a jerk to do what he did but apperantly he has friends that do the same thing that have power to help him out. DON’T HURT A CHILD ,THAT IS ANYONE UNDER 18, as for a soon to be x she sold her kids to her x to get her motorcycle fixed and let him have custody.after a few years he got popped and the female “mother” was upset she had to go to court to press charges, why don’t they do that to a wife that knows about the situation,and give her time, i myself got crap trying to stop her from beatng her kids and she was doing so very violently. and doesn’t these dumbazz judges realize these children go thru this everyday in thier mind.so why let them get off easy, they ruined a life. and a guy like me gets crap because i threagthened to take the kids cellphone away because she won’t clean up her mess or 8 o’clock is curfew time during the week now because i made her clean up and noone in house after 8 caught her hiding guys in garage downstairs and yells at me that i’m wrong. but because she is 14 now she has the right to make a deciosion to move back with mom. real peach of a woman, her other daughters are 18 and 19 and have 2 & 3 kids each, she had 6 children and 1 drowned as she was out of town with a guy at a bike meet,then the police after my youngest daughter drowned in a backyard pool.i got custody of my 3 yearold,she should have gotten charged with something besides going to classes which she didn’t go to anyway, ITS ONE F-C-ED UP COUNTRY IN WHICH WE LIVE.

  • will

    wouldn’t it be terrible if Berny Fine is innocent of all charges.Mike and Kim and everyone else keep talking as if he was found guilty but the stat.of limits. ran out.One of the three accusers is found to be lying a second one changed his stories more than once and the first one had an edited tape(many conversations cut and clipped together) and may have had an affair with Fines’ wife. It seems everyone is afraid to even discuss this possibility.

  • The Good Samaritan

    Syracuse needs to give Mr. Fine back .

    Mr, Fine needs to be sued for wrognful termination at once.

    Look at the accuser Zach Tomaselli he molested a boy.

    Free Mr. Fine.

    The Good Samaritan had spoken.

  • pete

    Like in the PEDO PENN STATE case, the DA is not pressing charges, and their socalled INVESTIGATIONS end up in NEVER-NEVER Land. These pedophiles all stick together and they are like an octopus, reaching into the highest levels of society. DA’s, Judges, College Presidents, you name it, they covered up for them before, and they cover up for them now. They do not want their cover blown as decent, law-abiding and morally impeccable Citizens. Shame on them!!

    • pete

      Yes, that is true, but only because the sh..t hit the fan now. His Co-Pedos are running for cover at the moment, but they sure as Hell will dream up something to get them off the hook and let the poor young victims hold the bag. This is an influential and slimy organisation of sworn pedophiles, and the a…holes of young boys is their common play ground and denominator.

    • propmgr

      Except that in the Penn State case, charges are being brought.

  • Vik

    Hope this evil, rotten, p.o.s. rots in hell for what he did to those boys.

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