Tag:Bernie Fine
Posted on: January 31, 2012 10:00 am
Edited on: January 31, 2012 10:03 am
  •  
 

Court docs state Fine's wife slept with players

By Matt Norlander

In court papers obtained by the New York Daily News, Bobby Davis, the man who first accused Bernie Fine of sexually molesting him, states Fine's wife, Laurie, was intimate with many Syracuse basketball players.

It was the tape of Laurie Fine talking to Bobby Davis about Bernie Fine's sexual molestation problems/habits that gave this story its fastest legs and overall credibility. Davis has also said before -- and Laurie Fine alludes to it in the infamous phone call -- that Laurie Fine successfully pursued sexual action with him while he was in high school.

Here's an excerpt from the Daily News' story:

[Davis states] he overheard Laurie Fine and the wife of another coach talk about performing oral sex on players, and the “specific size and physical attributes” of their private parts.

The new affidavit was filed in New York State Supreme Court on Monday by attorney Gloria Allred, who filed a lawsuit last month on behalf of Davis and his stepbrother Michael Lang. The suit charged that Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim defamed them when he said they lied about being sexually abused by Fine, Boeheim’s longtime assistant.

“It is not only Fine’s relationship with me and other boys that would have tipped Boeheim off. For years, Bernie Fine’s wife Laurie Fine had sexual relationships with basketball team players. Players used to talk openly about it as a known fact.”

The affidavit also states Davis' account of Laurie Fine and Davis going to an off-campus house in 1993, where a player boasted of sleeping with Laurie Fine. "A few years later," according to the story, Laurie Fine and another coach's wife spoke of oral sex with players while Davis drove them from one place to another in Syracuse.

Davis attacked Boeheim in the affidavit saying, "I believe Boeheim deliberately chose to ignore what he knew was improper behavior, or actually knew precisely what was happening and did nothing to intervene."

Syracuse fired Bernie Fine in late November. Syracuse is yet to respond to this story.
Posted on: January 20, 2012 2:56 pm
 

Third accuser admits to lying about Bernie Fine

By Jeff Borzello

Zach Tomaselli, the third accuser in the Bernie Fine case, has admitted he falsified emails that he sent to the Syracuse Post-Standard and The Daily Orange.

Tomaselli also plans to ask Syracuse police to end its child molestation investigation of Fine. However, he maintains that Fine did molest him.

“But he did do it,” Tomaselli told the Daily Orange. “I’m not lying.”

Tomaselli said he doctored emails in order to garner more support for his accusations, and so more news outlets would report on them. He also said he did it to “counterattack” comments from Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick.

According to the Post Standard, Syracuse police used information from Tomaselli to obtain a search warrant for Fine’s house on November 25.

Tomaselli is expected to be sentenced to prison in February for sexually abusing a teenage boy. He also said he would drop the civil suit he filed against Fine.

He is the second accuser to recant at least part of his story. Last week, Floyd VanHooser said he lied in accusations and that Fine never abused him as a child. VanHooser was the fourth accuser in the Fine case.

Fine was an assistant coach at Syracuse for 36 years before being fired on November 27.

Posted on: December 15, 2011 11:57 am
Edited on: December 16, 2011 7:49 am
 

Fourth alleged victim comes forward in Fine case

By Matt Norlander

We've yet to go five straight days without a new significant angle or twist in the Bernie Fine story, which is now more than a month old. The story keeps sprouting new legs, as new claims come forward, lawsuits get filed and the investigation of Fine continues to run its course on a federal level.

The Post-Standard published a story Thursday that details the claims of an alleged new victim, the fourth one to publicly state he was sexually molested by Bernie Fine. He's also the oldest of the four alleged victims, and so his story dates back further than any previous ones -- all the way to 1969, well before Fine was a coach at Syracuse.
Floyd VanHooser, who celebrated his 56th birthday Tuesday behind the walls of the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, says Fine began sexually abusing him when VanHooser was 14 years old, in 1969. The Syracuse man, who is serving 16 years to life for repeatedly burglarizing homes in Central New York, told The Post-Standard Wednesday in an hourlong prison interview that the fired SU coach took him in as an orphan and sexually abused him. VanHooser’s parents both died before he was 13 years old. VanHooser said he lived with Fine on and off for nearly 40 years.
VanHooser was interviewed by police last month in prison, he told the newspaper, well before he knew anything of this case.

The details of what Fine allegedly had VanHooser do are skeevy (easy to find in the Post-Standard's story linked above), but remember, this is coming from a man currently in the clink. His story is his story, and it's all just allegations right now. What's more, the statute of limitations, like it did with Mike Davis and Bobby Lang, has long since passed for VanHooser in this case if most of his stories are in fact true.

However, VanHooser maintains the sexual behavior on behalf of Fine lasted for four decades. Davis has also said he took repeated abuse in the '80s and '90s from Fine. The most shocking thing about the story: VanHooser said Fine "pressured" him to perform sexual acts this year in exchange for money ($300). That happened this past summer at Fine's on-campus office, according to VanHooser. Fine was fired from Syracuse Nov. 27. If somehow true, a game-changer, as it could allow local action and a re-opening of the case against Fine.

Fine has maintained his innocence from the start and was freed of all possible local charges on Dec. 7. VanHooser's claims were downplayed/tossed aside by Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick, who didn't find them reputable, unlike those of Davis and Lang, who filed a defamation lawsuit against Syracuse and Jim Boeheim this week. Victim No. 3, Zach Tomaselli, filed a lawsuit against Fine last week.

"There simply is no victim No. 4," Fitzpatrick said on Dec. 7, vaguely referring to VanHooser's claims.

VanHooser was indicted this year on eight counts of burglary and petit larceny for breaking into four homes, according to The Post-Standard. He is serving 16-to-life.

Photo: US PRESSWIRE

Posted on: December 13, 2011 12:23 pm
Edited on: December 13, 2011 5:26 pm
 

Syracuse, Boeheim to be sued by Fine accusers

By Matt Norlander

[READ THE LAWSUIT HERE]

The Bernie Fine case has now taken its predictable turn toward litigation.

Syracuse Rapid Reporter Thomas Casale filed a story Tuesday that stated Bobby Davis and Mike Lang, the two central figures in the sexual molestation allegations against the former Syracuse assistant coach, will sue Syracuse University.

Their attorney, Gloria Allred, is notable because she recently represented an alleged victim of Herman Cain's sexual harassment, as well as one of Tiger Woods' mistresses and Nicole Brown Simpson's family. Cain is no longer in the running for the President of the United States, so it's a splashy name to attach to this case. 

If possible, the case has become even more high-profile. Allred welcomes the spotlight and is one of the most notable, aggressive, PR-seeking attorneys in the country.

Jim Boeheim is also named in the defamation suit. And so the case heaves new life and a new angle. This is the tedious side of it, but we're still dealing with alleged victims of sexual assault, so the subject remains a sensitive one, even if lawyers will now begin to fill the words inside the quote marks of the news stories. You'll recall Boeheim originally was very vocal about how this was about money. He since recanted and apologized for those remarks.

Here's a snippet of what happened at today's press conference, via Syracuse.com:
"It really hurt me to learn that coach Jim Boeheim accused me of lying,” Davis said during the press conference. “For a long time, this was my worst fear, that if I did speak up against this person, that no one would ever believe me because of who Bernie was and how he was perceived in the public, as a great person who did so much for kids.

“Then I thought about other victims who might be willing to come forward, but who would see or hear coach Boeheim’s comments calling me a liar, worried that they would never be willing to speak up because coach Boeheim is a person who many kids and people in this community admire.”

Allred said she did not hear Boeheim’s later comments as an apology and his statements irreparably damaged her clients.

“The coach has seriously hurt my reputation,” Davis said. “But I want people to know the truth.”

Syracuse has not as of yet offered a comment in the wake of Tuesday's Allred/Davis/Lang press conference. Allred added, "It’s time now to make both Syracuse University and coach Boeheim accountable."

Photo: AP via ESPN


Posted on: December 10, 2011 10:36 pm
Edited on: December 10, 2011 10:59 pm
 

Syracuse's Scoop Jardine welcomes No. 1 spot

By Jeff Goodman

It's really been a huge distraction for Scoop Jardine and the Syracuse Orange.

That's sarcasm, folks, since Syracuse -- which has been under the national microscope for the last few weeks in the midst of the Bernie Fine sexual assault allegations -- will likely take the No. 1 spot on Monday when the new national polls are released.

The Orange improved to 10-0 after Saturday's rout over George Washington -- and with top-ranked Kentucky and No. 2 Ohio State both losing, the 'Cuse should move up to No. 1.

"All everyone is talking about is the scandal and I've used that to the guys as far as people disrespecting us as a team," Jardine told CBSSports.com on Saturday. "We didn't have anything to do with the scandal, don't know anything about it. This is our season."

Jardine has a point. Each time Syracuse wins a game, the first thing everyone talks or thinks about is Fine.

"They talk about that and maybe show one or two highlights," Jardine said. "No disrespect to everything that's going on, because obviously it's serious, but this is our season."

Jardine said that this team has taken a cue from its even-keeled leader, Boeheim, who hasn't appeared rattled throughout all the scrutiny.

"He hasn't let is distract him," Jardine said. "And it hasn't been a distraction to us, either."

Jardine said he welcomes the bulls-eye on the team's back once it gets anointed as the No. 1 team in the nation.

"It's something I want," Jardine said. "Something we want."

Next up for Syracuse, though, is its first true road game on Saturday against N.C. State. The Orange have beaten Florida and Marshall at the Carrier Dome and Virginia Tech and Stanford at Madison Square Garden, but a hostile environment is a different story.

"Kentucky went to Indiana and look what happened," Jardine said. "We know you can get beat anytime on the road."

But already, Jardine is enjoying it. He read a text he just received moments after the game from former Orange star Carmelo Anthony.

"Great job. We're number one. Time to really focus. Time to turn it up a notch and lock in."

With everything that's been going on since the middle of last month, one thing that can't be questioned is this team's focus.

Photo: AP
Posted on: December 7, 2011 11:11 am
Edited on: December 7, 2011 11:18 am
 

Bernie Fine to avoid state prosecution, charges

By Matt Norlander

The investigation involving former Syracuse assistant coach Bernie Fine has become as much about timing as anything else.

And because the sexual-molestation allegations against Fine came years -- decades, even -- after they allegedly occurred, the former Syracuse assistant coach will not face legal action in the state of New York.

Because Bobby Davis and Mike Lang waited so long to come forward to tell their stories, the statute of limitations on these crimes has been passed, and so Fine will not be charged or prosecuted by state authorities.

Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick held a press conference Wednesday morning, essentially stating he believes what Davis and Lang are claiming, that Fine did molest the boys on multiple occasions throughout the 1980s and '90s. He applauded Davis for coming forward and told Lang -- neither of whom were in the room; Fitzpatrick was speaking to them generally -- he too did the right thing by speaking up.  He apologized to them as well.

"Bobby, I'm sorry it took so long," Fitzpatrick said. The presser was as much about updating the public on the state of the case as it was Fitzpatrick's personal grief session to the alleged victims involved and potential victims everywhere.

The big part of this case remains to be the audio tape of the phone call between Davis and Laurie Fine, Bernie's wife. It is the evidence out there that all but clarifies any doubt people might've had in regard to Fine's inappropriate actions. Here's what Fitzpatrick said about that recording.

"The significance of this tape cannot be overstated. 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."

The first part of that statement was a clear shot at Jim Boeheim, the Syracuse head coach who finally apologized last Friday after initially belittling, doubting and publicly admonishing the claims made by Davis and Lang.

Fitzpatrick and the State of Syracuse are powerless to do anything now, though.

Fine's not in the clear, though, not by a long shot. Federal authorities continue to investigate this, and the key now becomes the story and claims of Zach Tomaselli, who is the third accuser in the case. Tomaselli claims he was molested by Fine in 2002 while the Orange were in Pittsburgh for a game against the Panthers. If that story rings true and can be corroborated, authorities can charge Fine with severe penalties thanks to broader, un-cuffed laws.

The feds recently raided Fine's home and on-campus office, confiscating dozens of items in the process.

Fitzpatrick also went back on some words on his own, saying Syracuse University and the city police department did do their diligence in looking into the case. He was initially very public and very critical toward the university and the PD. His insistence on making news by way of press releases and press conferences doesn't sit well with some, still.

Fine was fired by the university Nov. 27.

Photo: AP
Posted on: December 5, 2011 6:12 pm
Edited on: December 7, 2011 12:23 am
 

Why did Bernie Fine have nine cellphones?

By Matt Norlander

There is plenty of flying shrapnel humming around the Syracuse/Bernie Fine case. Monday, the public was made privy to the items that federal authorities recently seized at Bernie Fine's house and workplace.

It's what you'd expect. All of his at-home electronics, including a raid on his Manley Field House office, too. But it's not what the authorities took the possessions, it's that Fine -- who still has not been charged with any crime and has denied all accusations -- reportedly was in possession of nine cellphones.

That's a detail that could potentially lead to serious collateral damage for Syracuse's basketball program down the road.

Even for a college coach, nine phones staggering number (still high if you want to assume five of those phones he no longer uses/are outdated). Plenty of cynics will greet this with mock applause, as assistants have been known to use extra phones as if they were a regular on "The Wire." For all the issues and problems Bernie Fine had in his life, there's really no plausible reason for him to explain having that many phones attached to his name.

We here at the blog mock Borzello for grotesquely having three.

There are plenty of issues bigger to this case than whether or not Fine was hardcore in helping Syracuse cheat. All of the sexual molestation allegations come in novel-weighted pages before we get to any NCAA impropriety, and I'm not saying that such impropriety is definitely even there. I'm saying Fine had nine cellphones and he was an assistant coach at a major D-I college basketball power.

Also, Fine was long off the recruiting trail, too. He wasn't he one working on landing the better Orange prospects in the past decade-plus. From a basketball standpoint, it doesn't make sense that he'd have that many cells to begin with. Those close to the program know Fine wasn't a cog in the recruiting machine at SU anymore.

Still, the question I can't get out of my head: Why so many phones, Bernie? (At the same time, I'm not in the mood to dip down into that dark territory right now.)

From the Post-Standard, here's an excerpt of what police were looking for and confiscated. (Note: Authorities couldn't care less, and it's out of their jurisdiction, if they ever came across information that showed illegal NCAA activity)
Two safety deposit boxes rented by Fine were also searched at local banks, according to the inventories from the execution of four search warrants. Seven letters were seized from one safe deposit box.

Authorities led by the U.S. Secret Service and Syracuse police searched Fine's house in DeWitt Nov. 25 and Fine's SU office Nov. 29. Records show the agents were looking for pornographic material and records relating to any association with boys, past or present, and any records of boys living in Fine's home. The agents also sought all records of interstate or foreign travel, such as records of air travel and hotels.

From Fine's home ... the Secret Service seized nine cell phones, three iPads, two laptop computers and one desktop computer, the documents show. They seized six still or video cameras, 16 VHS tapes and nearly 150 CD's or DVD's, the records show. The agents also seized a bag of negatives, seven safe deposit box keys, file cabinets, two boxes of documents and two boxes of checks from the home, the records show.

From Fine's office at SU's office ... the agents seized a laptop computer, a desktop computer, 135 CDs, 217 VHS tapes, and a box of documents and photos, the records show.

The irony of this is, the NCAA recently rejiggered its bylaws in regard to cellphone usage. It finally let go of so many strict, stale rules with phones, including text-messaging and Facebook/Twitter-related activity. But Fine had these phones before those rules were alleviated. It's a ways down the road, and the NCAA is acquiescing everything (rightfully) to to authorities right now, so this is just a side note to this mammoth case that's got 20 times as many questions as answers right now.

The potential victims remain the center of this case, but from a basketball and athletics perspective, Syracuse is by no means in the clear. Fine could ruin his school's name even more if one clue leads to another, and suddenly he's caught red-handed in cheating. This could come back to Jim Boeheim once again, too.

Sometime in the future, the NCAA may want to or be able to look into the records and see just who was getting called from all of Fine's phones.  The irony: AAU coaches and runners could end up being the best of the bunch, the stuff we'd all prefer to see, if anything wrong is on the phone records at all.

Photo: US PRESSWIRE

More College Basketball coverage
Posted on: December 2, 2011 10:04 pm
Edited on: December 2, 2011 10:05 pm
 

Jim Boeheim's new tone and full apology



By Matt Norlander

An emotional — but not quite on the verge of tears — Jim Boeheim had his latest chance to react to the allegations against former Syracuse assistant Bernie Fine after undefeated Syracuse’s 72-68 win against Florida Friday night.

I’ve got a column coming on it, but here’s Boeheim’s somewhat scripted/still off-the-cuff statement/reaction quote in full. Boeheim said he was not advised on what to say, or whether to say anything at all. This was Boeheim's response after first giving a general reaction to the game.

“There are two topics I’m going to address tonight and I will talk professional bout the team and the game and what happened, and then I’m going to address something that’s personal to me. … I’m going to limit what I’m going to talk about, because of this ongoing investigation. But I want to make three comments. …

"I have talked to some people today and yesterday about what i was going to say, and these are my thoughts. I’m not good enough to put them down on paper. I just am not. No one said, ‘This is what you should say.’ No one indicated that I had to say something. This is what I feel, and I have to make three comments, and the first one is, I believe I misspoke very badly in my response to the allegations that have been made.

"I shouldn’t have questioned what the accusers expressed or their motives. I am really sorry that I did that and I regret any harm that I caused. It was insensitive to the individuals involved, and especially to the overall issue of child abuse. I spent yesterday afternoon at McMahon/Ryan House (a child advocacy center) talking to people, the director and some other people there, and although I have been involved with them, in terms of raising money, I think it’s important that we, and I, get involved more in terms of raising awareness. (Pause) What I said last week was out of loyalty. I reacted without thinking. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I’m trying to learn from my mistake, and this has been a hard time. That’s all I can say. There’s an investigation going on that I fully support, because we all need to know, as much as we can, what happened.”

Photo: US PRESSWIRE

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com