Syracuse, N.Y. – Syracuse University has fired longtime assistant men’s basketball coach Bernie Fine, who is under investigation for allegedly molesting underage boys.
In a statement, the college said, “At the direction of Chancellor Cantor, Bernie Fine’s employment with Syracuse University has been terminated, effective immediately.”
The move comes after a third accuser came forward. Zach Tomaselli, 23, told the Syracuse Post-Standard Fine sexually abused
him when he was 13 years old. The newspaper reports the allegations prompted last week’s federal search of Fine’s home.
On Sunday morning, ESPN aired a recorded phone
call between Fine’s wife, Laurie, and accuser Bobby Davis. In the phone call, Fine’s wife said she had suspicions about Fine abusing Davis.
"Frankly, the events of the past week have shaken us all," wrote Chancellor Nancy Cantor in an email to the university community. "The taped phone call that ESPN revealed today was not provided to the university by Mr. Davis during the 2005 investigation by our legal counsel. Like the media review of the case a few years earlier, no other witnesses came forward during the university investigation, and those who felt they knew Bernie best could not imagine what has unfolded."
Fine had been on administrative leave since the allegations were first reported by ESPN on November 17.
Fine has not been charged. Coach Jim Boeheim had said he believes Fine is innocent and the first two accusers, including Davis, are not telling the truth. Boeheim released a statement Sunday night:
“The allegations that have come forth today are disturbing and deeply troubling. 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. What is most important is that this matter be fully investigated and that anyone with information 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.”