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Entries in Syracuse (5)

Wednesday
Nov302011

Boeheim's Job Safe for Now as Syracuse Basketball Team Wins Big

Nate Shron/Getty Images(SYRACUSE, N.Y.) -- The third-ranked Syracuse University men's basketball team took care of business Tuesday, easily defeating Eastern Michigan, 84-48, amid rumors that head coach Jim Boeheim's job might be on the line because of the sex abuse scandal that spurred the firing of longtime assistant coach Bernie Fine last Sunday.

The school has come under heavy pressure from victims' groups to oust Boeheim for his seemingly lack of sensitivity to Fine's alleged victims when news first broke earlier in the month about two former ball boys who accused Fine of molesting them over a long period of time.

Boeheim withdrew his support for Fine and supported the firing when "more facts came out" that included a third alleged victim and a tape recording of a 2002 phone call made to Fine's wife, Laurie, in which she suggested that he may be guilty of the charges made against him.

Asked about Boeheim's future, Syracuse University Chancellor Nancy Cantor said Tuesday that he "is our coach" -- an apparent vote of confidence.

Receiving two standing ovations at Tuesday's night game in Syracuse, Boeheim said, "I'm saddened in many ways by what has unfolded.  I'm looking forward to a time when we can talk and learn from what has happened."

Unlike the previous home game, there was no open seat on the bench to mark Fine's absence.  No criminal charges have been leveled at the former coach who has called the accusations "patently false."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Nov292011

Victims Group Demands Ouster of Syracuse Head Basketball Coach

Nate Shron/Getty Images(SYRACUSE, N.Y.) -- With his longtime assistant gone, is Syracuse basketball coach Jim Boeheim's job safe?

The Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests says it's time Syracuse University also cut ties with Boeheim for first denigrating two men who charged Bernie Fine with sexually abusing them as youngsters.

Fine was fired Sunday after a third man came forward to allege that he too was molested by the 65-year-old coach.  The firing also followed a broadcast on ESPN of a taped phone conversation between Fine's wife, Laurie, and accuser Bobby Davis in 2002 in which she acknowledged her husband had likely molested Davis when he served as the team's ball boy.

When the story about Fine broke two weeks ago, Boeheim defended Fine and accused Davis and his relative, Mike Lang, of trying to cash in on the scandal that he said was perpetuated by sex abuse charges filed against former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky.

On Sunday, Boeheim changed his tune, saying, "I deeply regret any statements I made that might have inhibited that from occurring or been insensitive to victims of abuse."

However, David Clohessy, the director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said Boeheim's apology won't undo the harm he's caused and demanded that Syracuse fire the coach.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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

Friday
Nov182011

Former Ball Boy Accuses Syracuse Basketball Coach of Molesting Him

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images(SYRACUSE, N.Y.) -- Syracuse University's longtime assistant men's basketball coach Bernie Fine is under investigation for allegedly molesting a ball boy for at least 12 years.

ESPN reported Thursday that 39-year-old Bobby Davis is claiming that Fine began abusing him in 1983 -- a year before he started his six-year tenure as the team's ball boy.

Davis, who alleged that the abuse continued into the 1990s, says that Fine molested him at his home, at the university's facilities and on road trips.

Fine has been put on administrative leave while Syracuse Police investigate the allegations.  He is been at Syracuse University for 35 years.

According to ESPN, Davis did not tell head basketball coach Jim Boeheim about what he alleges Fine did to him, even though he says Boeheim saw the two of them together often.

Boeheim later issued a statement that said, ‘I have known Bernie Fine for more than 40 years.  I have never seen or witnessed anything to suggest that he would have been involved in any of the activities alleged.  Had I seen or suspected anything, I would have taken action.  Bernie has my full support.”

Meanwhile, Syracuse University issued a statement that it conducted an investigation of Davis' claims in 2005 and found no one who could corroborate his allegations.  ESPN said it also investigated Davis' allegations in 2003 but decided against airing the story, also citing no independent corroboration of his story.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Nov282010

Ex-Boyfriend Charged in Death of College Student

Photo Courtesy - findjennilyn(dot)com(SYRACUSE, N.Y.) -- Onondaga County, New York District Attorney William Fitzpatrick said on Saturday officials had treated the ex-boyfriend of a missing college student as a witness but knew all along he was the prime suspect in the disappearance of 20-year-old Jenni-Lyn Watson.  Watson's body was found Saturday in a park near her suburban Syracuse, N.Y., home, in a marsh behind the playing fields. 

Steven Pieper, 21, pleaded not guilty in town court, where he is charged with second-degree murder.  Officials say he and Watson had been romantically involved, off-and-on, for about a year and a half but Watson broke it off in October.

She came home for Thanksgiving from college in Pennsylvania, where she was a dance major and disappeared from her parents' home Nov. 19.  Hundreds of searchers combed the countryside looking for her, finally discovering the body Saturday in Clay Central Park. 

Authorities say they do not have any eyewitness reports linking Pieper to the Watson home, where they believe the girl was murdered.  They are asking neighbors to contact authorities if they saw Pieper's black Volkswagen in the neighborhood on the day Jenni-Lyn Watson disappeared.

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