Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 11/17/14
SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Federal authorities have dropped their investigation into sexual abuse claims that cost a Syracuse University assistant basketball coach his job, threw a top-ranked team into turmoil and threatened the career of Hall of Fame coach Jim Boeheim. After a probe spanning nearly a year, U.S. Attorney Richard Hartunian said Friday there was no evidence to support claims that Bernie Fine had molested a boy in 2002 in a Pittsburgh hotel room. “The nature and seriousness of these allegations, which involved conduct typically committed in private with individuals who are reluctant to come forward, warranted a thorough federal investigation,” Hartunian said. Fine’s lawyer did not immediately return a call seeking comment. It wasn’t clear yet whether Fine could get his job back. The investigation erupted in the glare of a spotlight on child abuse shone by the Penn State University scandal that broke shortly beforehand. Two former Syracuse ballboys, Bobby Davis and Michael Lang, came forward Nov. 17 and accused the longtime assistant of fondling them when they were teens. Davis said the sexual contact continued for years. But the claims by Davis and Lang had happened too long ago to be prosecuted. Ten days later, though, a third man, 23-year-old Zachary Tomaselli, of Lewiston, Maine, went public with his accusation that Fine had molested him in 2002 in a hotel room when the team played in Pittsburgh. The same day, ESPN aired an audiotape in which Fine’s wife, Laurie, apparently acknowledged to Davis she knew about the molestation. Fine, who denied the allegations, was fired Nov. 27, and the federal government began investigating Tomaselli’s claim, the only one that fell within the statute of limitations. The federal statute of limitations that went into effect in 2002 allows prosecution until the victim reaches age 25; Tomaselli was 23 when he made his claims. From the start, there were doubts about the claims. Davis had made the same accusation against Fine to the university and Syracuse police a decade before, but the police couldn’t investigate because of the statute of limitations, and the school said its probe turned up no evidence of wrongdoing. When Davis and Lang came forward in November, Boeheim angrily defended his assistant of 35 years and said the accusers were only out for money, seeking to cash in on the publicity generated by the Penn State scandal, in which former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was charged with sexually abusing several boys. Another accuser, Floyd Van Hooser, said Fine abused him for years but later said he was lying. That left Tomaselli, who was himself accused of sexually abusing a boy at a camp in 2010 and whose father had said the boy was lying. Tomaselli was eventually convicted of sexual abuse and started a prison sentence of three years and three months in April.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Michael Phelps pleads guilty to DUI, gets probation

NFL scouts not in love with Amari Cooper?

Report: No teams interested in trading for Lance Stephenson

It is not Chip Kelly's fault if Eagles miss playoffs

FCC declares that 'Redskins' is not obscene

Padres reportedly acquire Justin Upton

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Rajon Rondo after trade: My love for Celtics fans is 'unmatched'

Report: Athletics trade Derek Norris to Padres

Dodgers not happy with Padres GM over Matt Kemp trade

Mario Balotelli banned match for offensive Instagram post

Marc Trestman: Benching Jay Cutler could revive QB's career

Rob Gronkowski jokes about Tom Brady saying he's grown up

Game of the week: Indianapolis Colts at Dallas Cowboys

Are the 49ers going to rebuild or reload?

Ranking NFL coaches on hot seat heading into Week 16

Five draft picks why the Browns won’t make the playoffs

Peyton goes Belichick with 'we're on to Cincinnati'

The 10 worst NBA related commercials of all-time

Mark Cuban finalized Rondo trade on "Colbert Report' set

Sen’Derrick Marks celebrates $600K sack with money sign

Five most underpaid NFL players of 2014 season

Extremely rare set of Air Jordan 7s selling for $45,000

Five reasons why Alabama will win College Football Playoff

Hugh Freeze proud of Ole Miss’ record 2.57 team GPA

College Basketball News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Game of the week: Colts vs. Cowboys

Phelps gets probation for DUI

NFL coaches on hot seat in Week 16

The 10 worst NBA related commercials of all-time

The Roy Williams-Terrell Owens horse collar turns 10

Most underpaid NFL players in 2014

Gronk jokes about Brady compliment

In Matt Kemp, did the Dodgers find a pigeon in Padres?

Why the Saints are legit playoff threat

Impact of U.S.-Cuba relations on MLB

Andrew Hawkins, other athletes gain support for social statement attire

NBA's most underrated players

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.