National News

Syracuse coach silent day after Fine fired

Monday, November 28, 2011

Syracuse men's basketball coach Jim Boeheim was silent on Monday on the child sex abuse scandal involving longtime assistant Bernie Fine, who was fired after ESPN aired a phone conversation between Fine's wife and an accuser.

Boeheim had initially supported Fine, giving an impassioned defense of the man who spent 35 seasons with him. He accused the alleged victims of trying to get money.

"It is a bunch of a thousand lies that he has told," Boeheim told ESPN, referring to accuser Bobby Davis. "You don't think it is a little funny that his cousin (relative) is coming forward?"

But Boeheim has since softened his stance, keeping a low profile and holding a closed practice on Monday.

In a statement released Sunday night after Fine's firing, Boeheim expressed regret for his initial statements that might have been "insensitive to victims of abuse."

Many are calling for Boeheim to be fired as well, but university trustees have stayed silent.

Fine is accused of molesting three boys.

Davis, now 39, said he secretly recorded the phone conversation in 2002, years after he said Fine molested him. He told ESPN that the sexual contract began in 1984 and continued until he was about 27.

In the recording, Davis repeatedly asks a woman, who ESPN says is Fine's wife Laurie, what she knew about the alleged molestation.

"Do you think I'm the only one that he's ever done that to?" Davis asked.

"No & I think there might have been others but it was geared to & there was something about you," the woman on the tape said.

On the tape, she also says she knew "everything that went on."

"Bernie has issues, maybe that he's not aware of, but he has issues. ... And you trusted somebody you shouldn't have trusted," she says.

Davis also acknowledged in the ESPN interview that he and Lauie Fine had a sexual relationship when he was 18 and that he eventually told Bernie Fine about it. Davis said "it didn't faze him one bit."

Davis' stepbrother Mike Lang, 45, who also was a ball boy, told ESPN that Fine began molesting him while he was in fifth or sixth grade.

A third man came forward last week, 23-year-old Zach Tomaselli, accusing Fine of molesting him when he was 13.

"After watching the pornography, he asked me to pull my shorts down," Tomaselli said in an interview.

Tomaselli's father calls him a liar. He said he never took Tomaselli or allowed him to go to a game in Pittsburgh.

Tomaselli faces his own sexual assault charges in Maine involving a 14-year-old boy.

The allegations began a week after Penn State school trustees fired head football coach Joe Paterno in the aftermath of the child sex abuse scandal involving former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky.

Fine has called the accusations against him false.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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college basketball, sex crimes, sexual assault, national news, leslie miller
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