Syracuse chancellor: Boeheim's our coach

By Michael Gormley

Associated Press

Published: Tuesday, Nov. 29 2011 2:56 p.m. MST

SYRACUSE, 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 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.

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