Syracuse University Assistant Coach Bernie Fine was fired yesterday over a tape recording of a call with Fine’s wife released by his accuser, who says that Fine molested him in the 80’s, when he was a teenager. The call has to be heard to be believed, but the gist of it is that Fine’s wife Laurie knew that Fine was molesting alleged victim Bobby Davis in her house, and had some suspicions about other kids, and did nothing. Davis also says that he had a sexual relationship with Mrs. Fine when he was 18.
The timeline on this incident is also puts the actions of Syracuse University, the Syracuse Police Department and the media under suspicion. Davis went to Syracuse Police in 2002 and was told the statute of limitations on his charges had passed. He then recorded the call with Mrs. Fine and provided the tape to (at least) the Syracuse Post-Standard and ESPN. Both of them apparently did nothing with the tape. The Post-Standard says that Mrs. Fine confirmed the accuracy of portions of the tape but claimed that it was “phony”. ESPN says that it had the tape authenticated by a voice expert, but did not explain why they had it for 9 years and did nothing with it.
The police department and the Syracuse DA are in a media pissing match over the Fine incident, with the DA claiming that the Chief leaked materials from the investigation to embarrass the DA’s office and to deflect blame from the PD’s inaction in 2002.
Syracuse University launched an internal investigation in 2005 when Davis brought the accusations to them. Chancellor Nancy Cantor says that the tape was not provided to the University at that time. And, at that time, Davis was the sole accuser. Last month, Davis’ stepbrother, now 45, came forward to claim that Fine molested him when he was in the fifth grade. Yesterday, a 23 year-old man claimed that Fine molested him in a hotel room in Pittsburgh in 2003. That accuser is facing sexual assault charges against a child in Maine and his estranged father says that none of it has happened.
The whole thing is ugly, but unless that call is an amazing fake, Bernie Fine and his wife are two awful human beings.