Posted by mlemaire on November 28th, 2011
When allegations that Syracuse assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine had sexually molested two ball boys broke nearly two weeks ago, head coach Jim Boeheim wasted no time going on the offensive. He vehemently defended his longtime assistant and attacked the accusers saying they were liars who were only after money. Then, yesterday, Fine was fired by the university after a third accuser came forward and a damning ten year-old taped conversation between the initial accuser, Bobby Davis, and Fine’s wife surfaced. Boeheim released a statement last night, and he no longer sounded like the same defiant coach he was when the allegations first broke. In fact, he sounded a lot like a coach furiously backpedaling in an effort to save his job.
After 35 Years Of Coaching At Syracuse, Assistant Bernie Fine Was Fired Last Night.
“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. I believe the university took the appropriate step tonight,” Boeheim said in the prepared statement. “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.”
That is a far cry from what Boeheim told the Syracuse Post-Standard when the allegations first broke. Boeheim was asked eleven days ago about the allegations against Fine and his answer didn’t exactly leave room for interpretation. “There’s absolutely no truth, no validity,” Boeheim told the Post-Standard. “I’ve known Bernie for 40-plus years, and I don’t believe in any way, shape or form he would ever even pat a kid on the shoulder. Is that clear enough?”
By giving such an unequivocal response, Boeheim put himself out on the furthest limb on the tree, and it now appears that limb is about to collapse and may bring down Boeheim with it. There are some reliability concerns about the third accuser, 23-year-old Zach Tomaselli, who is accused of sexual assaulting a 14-year-old boy in Maine and who was called a flat-out liar by his estranged father. But there is also the sordid telephone recording between Davis and Laurie Fine in which Fine not only admits she “knows everything that went on” between Davis and her husband, but also admits to having her own sexual relationship with Davis when he was 18 years old.
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