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.