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.
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