In the wake of the developing Penn State sex abuse scandal, ESPN is reporting brand new allegations against another university coach.
Two Syracuse University ball boys have recently come forward claiming they were molested by assistant head basketball coach, Bernie Fine, from the 1970s until the 1990s.
“One alleged victim, Bobby Davis, now 39, told Outside the Lines that Fine molested him beginning in 1984, shortly before Davis entered the seventh grade. Davis, the team’s ball boy for six years beginning in 1984, said the abuse occurred at Fine’s home, at the Syracuse basketball facilities, and on road trips, including the 1987 Final Four.
“The second alleged victim, Mike Lang, now 45, is Davis’ stepbrother and was also a ball boy for several years. He told Outside the Lines that Fine molested him starting when Lang was in fifth or sixth grade.
“Davis said Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim saw him in Fine’s hotel room on several of those road trips, but Davis said he never told Boeheim about the alleged abuse.”
Police are currently investigating the allegations, but Syracuse head coach, Jim Boeheim, isn’t buying the men’s stories.
Boeheim told ESPN: “I know this kid, but I never saw him in any rooms or anything. 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.”
Despite Boeheim’s assertion that the alleged victims are lying, the university acknowledges that they investigated a molestation allegation against an associate basketball coach back in 2005, but found no evidence of abuse.
On its website, Kevin Quinn, Syracuse’s vice president of public affairs, released a statement:
“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.”
Since news of these allegations broke, the university has been swift to act. After releasing a statement, they have also placed Coach Fine on “administrative leave” while they continue to investigate these claims.
As the Penn State scandal deepens, and these latest allegations at Syracuse develop, many wonder if even more victims of similar scandals will come forward. Unfortunately, it seems as though athletic programs are ripe for abuse. Child, many of them at-risk, in close proximity with adults who may not have the best intentions in mind is a recipe for disaster.
What do you think? Are these scandals isolated events or are they just the tip of the iceberg?