Bernie Fine Investigation: Laurie Fine Sues ESPN For Libel

Laurie Fine, the wife of former longtime Syracuse Orange basketball assistant Bernie Fine, is suing ESPN for libel. She claims its coverage of the molestation charges levied against her husband destroyed her reputation with false claims.

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36 Total Updates since November 17, 2011
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Laurie Fine Suing ESPN For Libel, Says Network's Lies 'Destroyed Her Reputation'

Laurie Fine, the wife of former Syracuse assistant Bernie Fine, is suing ESPN for libel, claiming its coverage of the molestation charges against her husband ruined her reputation.

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Fourth Man Accuses Ex-Syracuse Assistant Basketball Coach Bernie Fine Of Molestation

A 56-year-old New York prison inmate is the fourth man to accuse former Syracuse basketball assistant coach Bernie Fine of molestation.

Floyd VanHooser, who is serving 16 years to life for burglary and petty larceny, told The Post-Standard (Syracuse) that he was 14-years-old when Fine, then a middle-school gym teacher, first molested him. He says that once he became an adult, the pair’s relationship included VanHooser performing sex acts for Fine in exchange for money.

Last week, Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick referenced a potential fourth accuser, but did not mention VanHooser by name. Fitzpatrick has maintained that the fourth accuser’s claims are not credible.

“There simply is no victim No. 4,” Fitzpatrick said during a news conference.

Public records show VanHooser, orphaned at 13, in the past listed Fine’s address as his home. VanHooser has been counseled by Robert M. Hoatson, president of New Jersey-based non-profit Road to Recovery, who says he is puzzled by the DA’s quick dismissal of a man the Syracuse police reportedly described as “credible.”

“To me it sounded like the DA wanted to put a white ribbon on it and wrap it up,” Hoatson said.

Fitzpatrick’s spokesman, Barry Weiss, said the DA had no further comment on the case, including whether or not he erred in his judgment of VanHooser. “As far as we’re concerned, it’s the U.S. attorney’s case,” Weiss said.

For more on these developments, visit Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician.

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Bernie Fine Allegations: Fourth Alleged Victim May Emerge Soon

Robert Hoatson, president and founder of Road to Recovery, says that he has spoken to the family of a fourth alleged victim of Bernie Fine and that they are in touch with the Syracuse Police and the Onondaga County District Attorney’s office.

Hoatson, who has not spoken with the alleged victim directly, says the victim was in their teens when the alleged abuse occurred (via New York Daily News).

"I got a call from this person’s family," Hoatson said. "They said something happened to someone in their family. She said she’s gone to law enforcement."

"When (the information) comes to light, he added, "it will be very powerful."

Hoatson made headlines last week when he led a protest on Syracuse University campus calling for Jim Boeheim's firing following his comments defending Bernie Fine and calling the accusers "liars."

Road to Recovery is a non-profit organization that supports victims of abuse.

For more on these developments, visit Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician.


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Bernie Fine Fired By Syracuse University

Syracuse assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine has been fired by the university. The university announced the decision, apparently made by Chancellor Nancy Cantor, in a statement from senior vice president for public affairs Kevin Quinn that was released Sunday night.

“At the direction of Chancellor Cantor, Bernie Fine’s employment with Syracuse University has been terminated, effective immediately.”

Fine has been the subject of an investigation into his alleged sexual abuse of three children since November 17. This weekend, audio of a conversation between Fine's wife, Laurie Fine, and one of the men accusing Fine of molestation, Bobby Davis, emerged, in which Laurie Fine seems to acknowledge her husband's abuse.

Fine had served as Jim Boeheim's assistant coach for decades, and has known the Syracuse head coach for almost 50 years. Boeheim vociferously defended Fine when news of the allegations against him first broke.

For more on Syracuse, visit Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician.

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Bernie Fine Investigation: Fine's Wife Discusses Allegations In 2002 Phone Recordings

Recorded phone conversations between Bobby Davis, the man accusing Syracuse assistant Bernie Fine of sexual abuse, and Fine's wife, Laurie Fine, were recently aired by ESPN's Outside the Lines. In the recordings, Laurie Fine acknowledges the alleged abuse by her husband, telling Davis "I know everything that went on," and, "You trusted somebody you shouldn't have trusted."  

Davis originally gave ESPN the recordings in 2003 but decided not to report the allegations when no one would corroborate his story. Now that Fine is being officially investigated, ESPN decided to air the recordings. Here are some excerpts from their conversation:

"I know everything that went on, you know," Laurie Fine said on the call, obtained by Outside the Lines from Davis. "I know everything that went on with him ... Bernie has issues, maybe that he's not aware of, but he has issues ... And you trusted somebody you shouldn't have trusted ... "

She continued: "Bernie is also in denial. I think that he did the things he did, but he's somehow through his own mental telepathy has erased them out of his mind."       

[...]

"Do you think I'm the only one that he's ever done that to?" Davis asked.

"No ... I think there might have been others but it was geared to ... there was something about you," Laurie Fine said.

"Yeah, that's what I'm wondering," Davis said. "Like I'm wondering why I was like the worst one."

"I don't know," Fine said.

[...]

"And, it's hard ... " Fine said. "If it was another girl like I told you, it would be easy to step in because you know what you're up against. ... (When) it's another guy, you can't compete with that. It's just wrong, and you were a kid. You're a man now, but you were a kid then."

At another point in the call, Fine says of her husband: "You know, he needs ... that male companionship that I can't give him, nor is he interested in me, and vice versa."

[...]

"It's about the d---. I know that. So you're -- I'm just telling you for your own good, you're better off just staying away from him," Fine said.    

If this recording is deemed admissible in court, it would be a huge blow to Fine's defense. 

(h/t SB Nation New York)

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Bernie Fine Investigation Now Includes Secret Service

Police and other government agencies reportedly searched the home of Syracuse assistant Bernie Fine as part of an ongoing investigation into allegations of child molestation on Friday. Word of the police investigation surfaced on Nov. 17, when ESPN ran a report that included allegations levied against Fine by a former Syracuse ball boy. Since the report initially aired, Fine and Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim have vehemently denied the accusations.

According to the report, which comes from Syracuse.com, the involvement of the Secret Service may indicate a serious step in the investigation.

The search suggests the probe has taken a new direction and involves allegations of more recent behavior than accusations of long-ago abuse, said veteran criminal defense attorney Edward Z. Menkin, of Syracuse, who is not involved in the case. “To me, it indicates this is a serious step in a new direction ...,” he said. “Common sense tells me it’s unlikely in the extreme that it has anything to do with the allegations reported on ESPN or The Post-Standard.”

Additionally, an expert cited in the report hypothesizes that the search may include Fine's computer, and potentially electronic materials. At this point, though, everything is conjecture with regards to the investigation and search of Fine's home, and nobody knows exactly what police were looking for or if the investigation has expanded further.

For more on these developments, visit Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician.

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Bernie Fine Investigation: House Searched By Police On Friday Afternoon

Bernie Fine's house was searched by several police agencies on Friday afternoon, reports the Syracuse Post-Standard

Four state troopers stood at 2:25 p.m at the foot of the driveway at Fine's home at 7001 Tiffany Circle. Other officers could be seen outside the house; three appeared to be looking through a trash can. A Syracuse Police crime scene van was parked up the driveway near the home and at least a half-dozen marked and unmarked police vehicles were parked on the street.

Fine is being investigated following allegations from two men who say they were sexually molested by the Syracuse assistant coach when they were teenagers. Bobby Davis, one of the alleged victims, initially reported the allegations in 2002 but was apparently told by the police they would not investigate because the statute of limitations had expired.

Davis said he decided to step forward again after hearing of the Jerry Sandusky investigation at Penn State, and the Syracuse District Attorney has subpoenaed records from the police to determine why his initial allegations were never investigated. 

Fine has been placed on administrative leave by Syracuse pending the results of the investigation. Head coach Jim Boeheim, who's known Fine for 40 years, has been extremely vocal in his support of his assistant and friend. 

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Bernie Fine Allegations: Syracuse District Attorney, Police Department Embroiled In Fight Over Information

On Monday, Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick obtained a subpoena requiring the police to turn over records from 2002 allegations against Syracuse Orange basketball coach Bernie Fine by accuser Bobby Davis.

The Syracuse Police, and Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Minoer have said they will keep all results of their investigation, past and present, internal until they decide to hand them over.

Fitzpatrick told the Post-Standard that he was greeted with an obscenity when he handed over the subpoena to Deputy Chief Shawn Broton, setting the tone for a legal battle towards discovery. 

The matter was supposed to be settled this morning, but state Supreme Court Justice Thomas Murphy sealed the records of what was said and adjourned until next Tuesday.

In the meantime, former Syracuse ball boy Steve Goldsmith, who spent time alongside Bobby Davis in the presence of Bernie Fine and continues to be close with the SU assistant cleared the air to say he was never abused and never suspected anything.

Davis and his ex-girlfriend have told the Post-Standard that they initially reached out to both the Syracuse Police and the District Attorney's office in 2002 and did not receive any help from either.

For more on these developments, visit Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician.

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