After a third accuser comes forward, Syracuse University finally fired Associate Head Basketball Coach Bernie Fine based upon allegations of child molestation. “At the direction of Chancellor Cantor, Bernie Fine’s employment with Syracuse University has been terminated, effective immediately,” Kevin Quinn, the school’s senior vice president for public affairs, said in a statement.
Syracuse chancellor posting on Fine firingDear Students, Faculty, & Staff: Tonight, in the wake of troubling new allegations that emerged in the media today, I am writing to let you know that Bernie Fine’s employment at the University has been terminated effective immediately. … Frankly, the events of the past week have shaken us all. The taped phone call that ESPN revealed today was not provided to the university by Mr. Davis during the 2005 investigation by our legal counsel. Like the media review of the case a few years earlier, no other witnesses came forward during the university investigation, and those who felt they knew Bernie best could not imagine what has unfolded. Since I last wrote to you, we have been cooperating fully with the authorities. On Friday, November 18th, as the District Attorney has noted, we turned over to his office the results of our 2005 months-long investigation. Also on November 18, our Board of Trustees retained an independent law firm, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, to review our procedures in responding to the initial allegations when they first came to the University’s attention. I fully supported that decision and it is vital that we examine our protocols and actions in dealing with such serious allegations. We need to learn all we can from this terrible lesson. All of us have the responsibility, individually and collectively, to ensure that Syracuse University remains a safe place for every campus community member and everyone with whom we interact on a daily basis on campus or in the community as part of our learning, scholarship, or work. We do not tolerate abuse. If anything good comes out of this tragedy, it will be that this basic principle is reinforced. Sincerely, Nancy Cantor
“The allegations that have come forth today are disturbing and deeply troubling. I am personally very shocked because I have never witnessed any of the activities that have been alleged,” said Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim. “I believe the university took the appropriate step tonight. What is most important is that this matter be fully investigated and that anyone with information be supported to come forward so that the truth can be found. I deeply regret any statements I made that might have inhibited that from occurring or been insensitive to victims of abuse.Two former Syracuse ball boys, Zach Tomaselli, now 23, stated that that Fine molested him in 2002 in a Pittsburgh hotel room, and Bobby Davis, now 39, stated that Fine molested him beginning in 1984 and that the sexual contact continued until he was around 27. A ball boy for six years, Davis claims the abuse occurred at Fine’s home, at Syracuse basketball facilities and on team road trips, including the 1987 Final Four.
Tomaselli, who faces sexual assault charges involving a 14-year-old boy, said during a telephone interview with The Associated Press that he signed an affidavit accusing Fine following a meeting with Syracuse police last week in Albany.
Tomaselli said the scandal at Penn State involving former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky prompted him to come forward. “It was the Sandusky stuff that came out that really made me think about it,” Tomaselli said. “A lot of people were slamming ESPN and Bobby for saying anything. I wanted to come out. … It made me sick to see all that support for Fine at that point. I was positive he was guilty.”