The scandal at Penn State over allegations that an assistant football coach sexually abused young boys for more than a decade was followed by word about a similar situation at South Carolina’s The Citadel, as we reported earlier this week.
Now there’s the news that Syracuse University assistant men’s basketball coach Bernie Fine has been put on administrative leave as city police there investigate allegations from two men that he molested them in the 1980s when they ball boys for the team.
There are important differences between the cases. Unlike in the Penn State and Citadel situations, no one has been arrested or charged with a crime. And as Syracuse’s Post-Standard details at length, the newspaper and ESPN had both investigated the claims from one of the men in 2002 and 2003 and found that none of the witnesses he had said would corroborate his story could actually do that. The university says it investigated in 2005 and also didn’t substantiate the accusation.
It’s the new claim, from a second man, that have led Syracuse police to open an investigation.
Fine, 65, has not spoken about the accusations.
The team’s head coach, Jim Boeheim, issued a strong statement defending his assistant:
“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 be involved in any of the activities alleged. Had I seen or suspected anything, I would have taken action. Bernie has my full support.”