Found November 28, 2011 on
For those of you who can discern the truth within this Syracuse-Bernie Fine-child-molestation scandal, I tip my hat. You have a level of X-ray vision/intellect that escaped my limited physical/mental blessings.
From where I sit -- despite the allegations of a third accuser, the public airing of a secretly recorded conversation between Fine's original accuser and Fine's wife, and Syracuse's abrupt decision to fire Fine on Sunday -- the truth still appears extremely murky.
Again, as I said a week ago, my words are not written to argue for the exoneration of Jim Boeheim's longtime assistant coach. I don't know Bernie Fine. I don't know what he's capable of doing or concealing. I'm also not a defense attorney.
I'm a sportswriter, a pundit and an occasional journalist. My interest in the Fine scandal revolves around journalistic fairness and whether a possible lack of fairness will inhibit us from ever learning the truth about Fine.
It's my belief the truth has been severely compromised. Unlike the Jerry Sandusky-Penn State controversy, the Fine scandal was first tossed into the media microwave and then the subsequent "hot potato" was handed over to the people our tax dollars pay to unearth kernels of truth from complex criminal matters.
The upside-down process created a circus that has made the truth virtually irrelevant. From the moment ESPN hastily aired Bobby Davis' and his stepbrother Mike Lang's allegations against Fine, everyone and every institution impacted by the story -- including ESPN -- went into CYA mode.
The Syracuse Post-Standard, armed with the same 2003 information ESPN had, started playing catchup. The local district attorney, William Fitzpatrick, and the local police chief, Frank Fowler, immediately blamed each other for botching the original "investigation." Boeheim called the accusers liars. Syracuse University claimed its 2005 investigation thoroughly vetted and refuted Davis' accusations. And, it now appears, ESPN waited for its original story to smoke out a third accuser before unveiling the corroboration (the Bobby Davis-Laurie Fine audio) it believes justified its original flimsy report.
Everything that has happened in the last week smells like public relations and not a search for truth. If this scandal ever leads to criminal charges against and a trial for Bernie Fine, every party listed above will have significant questions to answer in front of a jury.
This is a journalist's worst nightmare. A reporter never wants to be part of a story, especially not a criminal case.
A media outlet had the alleged smoking-gun evidence (audio of Laurie Fine talking about her husband's relationship with Bobby Davis) against a man accused of child molestation but kept quiet about it for eight years until it needed to unveil the evidence to justify premature reporting.
There is a lot that must be explained before I can discern any truth.
I'll repeat what I said a week ago: Let's hold off on comparing the Fine case to the Sandusky case. There has been no full police investigation, grand jury findings or indictments.
I don't have a vested interest in the outcome. This story just screams caution. That's the only plausible explanation for two media outlets to view the Bobby Davis-Laurie Fine conversation as non-corroboration in 2003. We need a plausible explanation for whatever gave ESPN and The Post-Standard pause in 2003 and again last week.
It can't simply be because there was no third accuser. Zach Tomaselli, the third Fine accuser, has extremely shaky credibility and motive to seek sympathy from the public. He has been charged with molesting a 14-year-old boy in Maine. Fred Tomaselli, Zach's father, disputes his son's allegations against Fine and called Zach a liar.
How can we discern the truth?
Some people believe the unvarnished truth can be heard in the Bobby Davis-Laurie Fine conversation.
That's not what I heard. I heard a delusional woman who thinks her husband should hunt down "gay boys" for male companionship and sexual service. I heard a delusional woman trying to reason with a man whom she believed was previously sexually molested by her husband; a man (Bobby Davis) who claims to have had a sexual relationship with her more than a decade earlier.
I heard a mother allegedly covering for someone accused of child molestation.
I heard what The Post-Standard and ESPN likely heard in 2003. I heard what The Post-Standard and ESPN likely heard last week . . . before Tomaselli chatted with Bobby Davis. That's right. The third accuser contacted the first accuser on several occasions before contacting the police.
Again, I'm not a defense attorney. And this column is not written to offer Bernie Fine exoneration. It's written to point out that the search for truth and justice has been damaged by the media's desire to capitalize off the Sandusky controversy.
Let's hold off on treating Jim Boeheim like Joe Paterno and Bernie Fine like Jerry Sandusky at least until the police have conducted a thorough investigation. And, for those of you who really believe in our Constitution, let's withhold judgment until Boeheim and Fine have had a chance to defend themselves.
It's the red-blooded, patriotic-American thing to do.
BEST OF MAXIM
Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim says he supports the university's decision to fire his longtime assistant Bernie Fine and that he ''deeply regrets'' his initial statements that may have been insensitive to victims of abuse.
On Sunday, a third accuser came forward in the investigation of child molestation allegations against Fine.
Boeheim says: ''What is most...
Syracuse University Chancellor Nancy Cantor gave men's basketball coach Jim Boeheim a vote of confidence Tuesday amid an investigation of child molestation allegations against his former longtime assistant coach.
Cantor emerged from an economic development conference with state officials and said: ''Coach Boeheim is our coach.''
Some commentators and sex abuse...
Syracuse Orange Coach Jim Boeheim has been pretty quiet on the child molestation charges against his now fired right man of multiple decades Bernie Fine. On Sunday he backed off a little from the acrimonious comments he initially made against Fine’s accusers. On Monday he said nothing at all, and probably realizes that in this case talking media equals “less is more.”
Playing for the first time since assistant coach Bernie Fine was fired, No. 4 Syracuse remained unbeaten with an 84-48 victory over Eastern Michigan on Tuesday night.
Fine has been accused by three men of molesting them and was fired Sunday after 35-plus years on the bench next to coach Jim Boeheim. Fine has denied the allegations.
James Southerland scored 19 points to match his...
After defending Bernie Fine for the last couple of weeks, Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim apologized for his reaction although he was admittedly shocked.
Some have said Boeheim should resign or be fired after three men, including two former Syracuse ballboys, accused former assistant coach Bernie Fine of molesting them and Boeheim verbally attacked the accusers.
Syracuse men's basketball coach Jim Boeheim ran a closed practice Monday as sex abuse victims' advocates questioned whether he should still coach the Orangemen following the firing of longtime assistant Bernie Fine, who has been accused of molestation by three men.
Syracuse University Chancellor Nancy Cantor is supporting men's basketball coach Jim Boeheim amid an investigation into child molestation accusations against his former longtime assistant coach.
After his Syracuse Orange had run away to another victory, men's basketball coach Jim Boeheim turned his focus to a far more important matter.
After No. 4 Syracuse remained unbeaten with an 84-48 win over Eastern Michigan on Tuesday night, Jim Boeheim didn't bother with questions about the game. Instead Boeheim addressed the firing of longtime assistant Bernie Fine, who has been accused by three men of molesting them. Fine has denied the allegations.
Leading Off: Urban Meyer's less-than-shocking about-face lands him at Ohio State and Syracuse ponders its basketball future under Jim Boeheim but with Bernie Fine hanging over everything.
Jim Boeheim's involvement in the abuse scandal at Syracuse differs from that of Joe Paterno's at Penn State, but he may suffer the same fate, and it may be justified, says William C. Rhoden.
What took so long? Bernie Fine has finally been fired by Syracuse. With allegations swirling that he’s a child molester, Syracuse really had no choice. Especially when Bernie Fine’s own wife was recorded saying that she knew that he had molested boys in the past.
On top of the confession from Bernie Fine’s wife, a third accuser has come out saying he was molested by the assistant...