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Syracuse puts Fine on leave after police inquiry

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SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) - Longtime Syracuse assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine was placed on administrative leave Thursday after old child molesting allegations resurfaced, just two weeks after a child sex abuse scandal rocked Penn State.

ESPN reported the accusations were made by two former ball boys.
Syracuse Chancellor Nancy Cantor said in a statement Friday morning that the school will not turn a blind eye to the allegations.

"We hold everyone in our community to high standards and we don't tolerate illegal, abusive or unethical behavior - no matter who you are," Cantor said in an email Friday morning to students, faculty and staff.

Bobby Davis, now 39, told ESPN that Fine allegedly molested him beginning in 1984 and that the sexual contact continued until he was around 27. A ball boy for six years, Davis told ESPN the alleged abuse occurred at Fine's home, at Syracuse basketball facilities and on team road trips, including the 1987 Final Four.

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

Syracuse police spokesman Tom Connellan said the investigation is in its early stages. He said police were given information on Thursday but declining to identify who provided it.

Fine is in his 35th season as a Syracuse assistant.

"He has vehemently denied the allegations and should be accorded a fair opportunity to defend himself against these accusations," Cantor said in the email.

Orange coach Jim Boeheim released a statement saying: "This matter was fully investigated by the university in 2005 and it was determined that the allegations were unfounded.

"I have known Bernie Fine for more than 40 years. I have never seen or witnessed anything to suggest that he would (have) been involved in any of the activities alleged. Had I seen or suspected anything, I would have taken action. Bernie has my full support."

ESPN said it first investigated the accusations in 2003, but decided not to run the story because there was no independent evidence to corroborate the allegations. Recently, a second man contacted ESPN, alleging that Fine also molested him. That person said he decided to come forward after seeing the Penn State coverage.

The Post-Standard said it, too, held off in 2003 for the same reason.

On the next page: 2005 investigation ends without charges

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