Board of Trustee members in 2005 weren't aware of Fine investigation

An internal investigation done in 2005 looking into child molestation allegations against former associate head coach of Syracuse University's men's basketball team was supposedly kept secret from university trustees.

Syracuse University’s four-month internal investigation in 2005 regarding Bobby Davis’s sexual assault allegations against Bernie Fine appears to have been conducted without the knowledge of the school’s Board of Trustees. According to an article in the Syracuse Post-Standard, Bernie Fine never came up in board deliberations.

The NewsHouse attempted to contact several current Board of Trustee members, none of whom were willing to comment.

At the time, Syracuse’s regularly-consulted legal advisors, Bond, Schoeneck & King carried out an investigation concerning Davis’s allegations. According to the university, the investigation failed to unearth evidence corroborating Davis’ story, and as such, it was abandoned.

Six years later, an audiotape documenting a conversation between Bobby Davis and Bernie Fine’s wife, Laurie, was released by ESPN. In that tape, Fine repeatedly acknowledged that her husband had sexually abused Davis. In 2003 she confirmed that it was her voice on the tape, but has since refused to confirm that the tape is entirely accurate, stating that it was tampered with.

SU Chancellor Nancy Cantor and the University as a whole have come under fire for failing to unveil the condemning evidence that Cantor admitted was the catalyst for Fine’s firing. In a letter to USA Today, Cantor said Fine would have been fired had the University been aware of the tape earlier.

She also responded to those questioning the university’s failure to report the allegations to the Onondaga County District Attorney’s office, writing that, “In our experience, the DA and the police are synonymous.” Further controversy has stemmed from the fact that former Syracuse basketball player, Dennis Duval, was the Syracuse Chief of Police at the time. DuVal played for Syracuse from 1972-1974 when Boeheim was still an assistant. Bernie Fine has yet to come on as Boeheim’s assistant.

In 2002, when Davis first went to Syracuse City Police with these claims, he said he gave the tape to Syracuse police as evidence. Davis did tell Syracuse University that he had gone to the police. Whether or not he mentioned the tape remains unclear. Cantor’s letter states that Davis did not provide the university with the tape during its initial investigation in 2005. ESPN and The Post-Standard were also in possession of the evidence prior to the University investigation, but did not release it, citing a lack of confirming witnesses or other accusers.

SU has since hired the New York-based law firm, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison to review the school’s response to the original school investigation.


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