Albany, N.Y. Prosecutors investigating allegations of child molestation against former Syracuse assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine face obstacles that include finding corroborating proof, statutes of limitations on old accusations and the credibility of the men who accuse him of sex abuse.
The 65-year-old Fine, who had been coach Jim Boeheim’s top assistant since 1976, has adamantly denied wrongdoing. He was fired when three men made public accusations and ESPN played a 2002 recording of a phone call in which a woman ESPN identified as Laurie Fine, the coach’s wife, tells accuser Bobby Davis she knew “everything that went on.”
But state charges against Fine are out, for the time being. Davis is now 39, and his stepbrother Mike Lang, another former ball boy who also told ESPN that Fine molested him, is 45; both men say they were first abused as boys in the 1980s. Any crimes against them happened so long ago that the statute of limitations has expired. Davis went to police in 2002, but even then, it already was too late to bring any charges in New York.
That leaves a federal prosecution.
The U.S. Secret Service is running that investigation, and it hinges on the claims of a third man, Zach Tomaselli of Lewiston, Maine. He has told authorities that Fine molested him in 2002 in a Pittsburgh hotel room.