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Syracuse Scandal: Jim Boeheim Is Our Coach, Chancellor Says

Jim Boeheim

First Posted: 11/29/11 03:31 PM ET Updated: 11/29/11 05:05 PM ET

By MICHAEL GORMLEY, Associated Press

ALBANY, N.Y. -- 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 Fine's firing. "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.

On Nov. 17, his 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.

Fine has denied the allegations.

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."

Key Players In Syracuse Scandal
Bernie Fine - Ex-Syracuse Assistant Coach
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Fine joined Jim Boeheim's coaching staff at Syracuse in 1976 and established himself as one of the most respected assistant coaches at the collegiate level. The longtime lieutenant to Boeheim has recently been fired from his position and is facing allegations from three individuals that he sexually abused them as young boys.

Fine initially dismissed the allegations, stating that they were "patently false."

Syracuse placed Fine on administrative leave after ESPN reported on the police investigation. However, Fine was fired shortly after a third alleged third victim came forward and ESPN went public with tape-recorded conversations between one of the victims, Bobby Davis, and Fine's wife, in which she seems to indicate that she was aware of the molestation.
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Filed by Michael Klopman  |