Bernie Fine has been "terminated, effective immediately" according to a statement released by Kevin Quinn, the senior vice president for public affairs at Syracuse University. The decision comes in the wake of new allegations surfacing against Fine as well as ESPN's report that Bernie Fine's wife, Laurie Fine, had admitted she was aware of her husband's actions. Laurie Fine made the admissions in conversations recorded by Fine's initial accuser, Bobby Davis.
Today another alleged victim with claims against Fine was identified. Zack Tomaselli signed an affidavit that provided the basis for a warrant used to search Bernie Fine's home Friday. Compounding the bizarre and disturbing nature of the story is the news that not only did his father dispute his own son's claims, but Tomaselli himself is also being investigated for allegedly molesting a 14-year old boy in Maine.
Zach Tomaselli, 23, of Lewiston, Maine, told Syracuse police on Wednesday that Fine molested him in 2002 in a Pittsburgh hotel room when Tomaselli was 13. Tomaselli, who signed an affidavit saying Fine abused him the night before a game against Pittsburgh, is himself facing sexual assault charges in Maine involving a 14-year-old boy.
Tomaselli alleged in his statement that Fine invited him to a party at Fine's home in 2003. No one witnessed the alleged abuse by Fine, Tomaselli said, and he does not have any physical evidence to back up his allegations. Tomaselli's father disputed his son's account, denying he ever met Fine or let his son go to Pittsburgh in 2002. He said his son did not go to a party at Fine's house in 2003.
ESPN.com attempted to contact Jim Boeheim for comment, however his wife answered the phone and only replied "Jim's not talking."
Update 9:15 p.m.: Boeheim and the Chancellor have released statements.
"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."
Chancellor Nancy Cantor:
Dear Students, Faculty, & Staff:
Tonight, in the wake of troubling new allegations that emerged in the media today, I am writing to let you know that Bernie Fine's employment at the University has been terminated effective immediately.
Frankly, the events of the past week have shaken us all. 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.
Since I last wrote to you, we have been cooperating fully with the authorities. On Friday, November 18th, as the District Attorney has noted, we turned over to his office the results of our 2005 months-long investigation. Also on November 18, our Board of Trustees retained an independent law firm, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, to review our procedures in responding to the initial allegations when they first came to the University's attention. I fully supported that decision and it is vital that we examine our protocols and actions in dealing with such serious allegations. We need to learn all we can from this terrible lesson.
All of us have the responsibility, individually and collectively, to ensure that Syracuse University remains a safe place for every campus community member and everyone with whom we interact on a daily basis on campus or in the community as part of our learning, scholarship, or work. We do not tolerate abuse. If anything good comes out of this tragedy, it will be that this basic principle is reinforced.
Bernie Fine fired as Syracuse assistant basketball coach after sex abuse allegations [NY Daily News]
Bernie fine fired by Syracuse [ESPN]
Jim Boeheim and SU Chancellor issue statements on Bernie Fine [9WSYR.com]