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Monday
Nov282011

Syracuse Fires Assistant Coach Bernie Fine Amid Abuse Allegations

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images(SYRACUSE, N.Y.) -- Syracuse University announced Sunday evening it has fired assistant men's basketball coach Bernie Fine, who has been accused by three men of sexually molesting them when they were boys.

"At the direction of Chancellor [Nancy] Cantor, Bernie Fine's employment with Syracuse University has been terminated, effective immediately," university spokesman Kevin Quinn announced.

Fine, 65, had been an assistant coach at Syracuse for 36 years, the longest active streak at one school among Division I assistant coaches.  He has called the allegations "patently false."

Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim said Sunday night he supported the university's decision to fire the man who has been his assistant for 35 years.

"The allegations that have come forth today are disturbing and deeply troubling," the Hall of Fame coach said in a statement released Sunday evening.  "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."

He said the allegations should "be fully investigated."

Boeheim, who had called one of the accusers "a liar" for suggesting he knew that his long-time assistant was allegedly abusing young boys, apologized for that "insensitive" remark and said that anyone with information should "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," he said.

The firing comes the same day that ESPN released tapes of one of Fine's accusers discussing what happened with the assistant coach's wife.

Bobby Davis was a seventh grader helping out around the Syracuse basketball court when he claims the abuse began.  Now 39, he says he made a recording in October 2002 of a phone call with Fine's wife, Laurie.  He says he did so so his allegations of molestation against Bernie Fine would be taken seriously.

"I know everything that went on, you know.  I know everything that went on with him," the woman identified as Laurie Fine tells Davis.  "Bernie has issues, maybe that he's not aware of, but he has issues...And you trusted somebody you shouldn't have trusted."

Davis gave a copy of the tape to ESPN and recently to police.  ESPN says a voice expert confirms the woman's voice on the audiotape matches Laurie Fine's.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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