Syracuse Sex Abuse Scandal: Update

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) -- Syracuse University Chancellor Nancy
Cantor gave men's basketball coach Jim Boeheim a vote of confidence Tuesday amid an investigation of child molestation allegations against his former longtime assistant coach.

Cantor emerged from an economic development conference with
state officials and said: "Coach Boeheim is our coach."

Some commentators and sex abuse victims' advocates had said
Boeheim should resign or be fired after three men, including two
former Syracuse ballboys, accused former assistant coach Bernie
Fine of molesting them and Boeheim verbally attacked the accusers.

"Coach Boeheim is our coach; he's getting the team ready
tonight," Cantor said. "We're very pleased with what he said
Sunday night, and we stand by him."

After initially saying Fine's first two accusers were lying to make money in the wake of the Penn State University sexual abuse
scandal, Boeheim backed off those comments in a statement Sunday.

"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," Boeheim said after the firing of Fine, who has denied the allegations. "I deeply regret any statements I made that might have inhibited that from occurring or been insensitive to victims of abuse."

Bobby Davis first contacted Syracuse police in 2002 about Fine,
but there was no investigation because the statute of limitations
had passed. Kevin Quinn, a spokesman for the university, said
police did not inform the university of Davis' allegations then.

On Tuesday, the Syracuse police chief said Dennis DuVal, a
former SU basketball player who was police chief in 2002, knew of
the allegations against Fine.

Police Chief Frank Fowler said DuVal, who played for the Orange
from 1972-74, was aware of Davis' accusations in 2002 that Fine
sexually abused him. Fine, who has been fired, denies the
allegations.

Because Davis said the abuse stopped 12 years earlier, Syracuse
Det. Doug Fox told him the statute of limitations had passed,
meaning an arrest was not possible. Fox advised his supervisor in
the abused persons unit but didn't file a formal report. The
detective is still with the department but not in the same unit.

A phone message left with DuVal was not immediately returned.

On Nov. 17, Davis' allegations resurfaced.

Davis, now 39, told ESPN 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 said the 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, also told ESPN that Fine began molesting
him while he was in fifth or sixth grade.

On Sunday, a third man, Zach Tomaselli, who faces sexual assault
charges in Maine involving a 14-year-old boy, said he told police
last week that Fine molested him in 2002 in a Pittsburgh hotel
room.

Cantor stressed the university is working with authorities.

`'We've been very straightforward and candid about this whole
process," she said. "We've gone through our due diligence when
things came up, and we felt it was important both for Bernie Fine
and for the university to move forward."

The chancellor has previously acknowledged that a man, now known
to be Davis, contacted the school in 2005 with allegations against
Fine. The school, which did not contact police, conducted its own
investigation at that time but found was unable to find any
corroboration of the allegations. The university has turned over
the results of the inquiry to the DA's office and has retained an
independent law firm to review their procedures and response to
those 2005 allegations.

The U.S. Attorney's Office and the U.S. Secret Service have taken the lead in the current investigation.

And Fowler said Syracuse police will change their procedures
moving forward.

"I was not the chief in 2002 and I cannot change the procedures
in place at that time or the way this matter was then handled,"
Fowler said in the statement. "But what I can and will do as chief
today is ensure that moving forward all reports of sexual abuse are
formally documented."

In an interview with the AP, Fowler said he wouldn't be notified
about all sex abuse allegations. But in a high-profile case like
the Fine investigation: "I'm very confident I would know about it.
I'm sure it would be brought to my immediate attention."

The chief also said the department only notifies the district
attorney when an arrest is made, not during the investigation
phase. Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick has
been sharply critical of the police for not sharing the information
from the 2002 allegations or from the current investigation.

Fowler has ordered a review of all department policies regarding
sexual abuse allegations made over the phone and will make changes if needed. A phone database now logs every call the department receives.

He gave this account of what the department knew, and when of
the 2002 allegations:

-- A local attorney called Det. Doug Fox of the Syracuse Police
Department's Abused Persons Unit in 2002 to say that he'd be
getting a call from a woman, now known to be Davis' friend Danielle
Roach, who wanted to discuss a sexual abuse case.
-- Several weeks later, Roach called Fox and said Fine had
sexually abused her friend. Fox told her to tell her friend to
contact him directly. About a month later, he called the detective
from Utah. In what Fowler described as a brief conversation, Davis
said Fine had sexually abused him while growing up and that the
abuse had occurred at least 12 years earlier.
-- Fox told him the statute of limitations had expired, so he
couldn't make an arrest. Fox told Davis that if he wanted to meet
in person or if he was aware of any current victims, he wanted
Davis to share additional information. The two never met face to
face.
-- Fox notified his supervisor, and they decided that unless
Davis met with the detective or provided names of other victims,
then no investigation would be started. No formal report was
prepared.
-- Several months later, in 2003, the department received an
inquiry from the Syracuse Post Standard newspaper as to whether an
investigation had been conducted on Fine. The Post Standard was
informed no investigation had taken place.
Fowler said the police department never met in person with any
possible victim until Nov. 17 of this year and began its ongoing
investigation on that day.
On that same day, Fowler said, the university handed over
results of an internal 2005 investigation into sexual abuse charges
against Fine; this was the first time Syracuse police learned of
that inquiry.
------
Associated Press Writer Michael Hill in Syracuse contributed to
this report.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
APNP-11-29-11 1601EST


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