NY prosecutor to discuss Syracuse abuse inquiry

December 7, 2011 - 9:31 AM
Syracuse Fine Investigation Basketball

FILE - This Nov. 14, 2011 file photo shows Syracuse basketball assistant coach Bernie Fine watching a college basketball game against Manhattan in the NIT Season Tip-Off in Syracuse, N.Y. Prosecutors investigating allegations of child molestation against Fine face obstacles that include finding corroborating proof, statutes of limitations on old accusations, and the credibility of the men who accuse him of sex abuse, according to defense attorneys. (AP Photo/Kevin Rivoli, File)

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) — A New York district attorney who has been sharply critical of police and Syracuse University investigations into allegations that an ex-assistant basketball coach molested boys is set to discuss the claims Wednesday.

Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick has been tight-lipped about what he'll say about the investigation into Bernie Fine, and his spokesman declined to comment.

The U.S. Secret Service also is investigating accusations that Fine molested three boys, including two former ballboys.

The 65-year-old Fine, who had been Hall of Fame coach Jim Boeheim's top assistant since 1976, has denied wrongdoing.

The claims led victims' advocates to call for the resignation of Boeheim, who at first staunchly defended his longtime friend and criticized the accusers. He later apologized and said he should not have questioned their motives.

Fine was fired Nov. 27 after the three men made public accusations and ESPN played a 2002 recording of a phone call in which a woman ESPN identified as Fine's wife tells an accuser she knew "everything that went on."

Accusations from two of the men, former ballboys Bobby Davis and Michael Lang, happened too long ago to be prosecuted. The claims of the third man, 23-year-old Zach Tomaselli, of Lewiston, Maine, fall within federal statutes of limitations and are being investigated by the Secret Service.

Fitzpatrick blasted Syracuse police for not contacting his office in 2002 when Davis went to them with the accusations. Police have said the statute of limitations had already expired by then so they told Davis they couldn't pursue an investigation but invited him to provide more accusers or fresher information.

The university had its law firm do its own inquiry in 2005 and has said it could not corroborate Davis' claims. Fitzpatrick, who said he was left out of that investigation too, said the probe was unprofessional because it didn't involve experts in sex-abuse crimes.