A decade-old recording has surfaced offering damning evidence against Syracuse University first assistant mens basketball coach Bernie Fine, who stands accused of molesting three men years ago when they were children. The school has responded to the bombshell by firing him:
"At the direction of Chancellor [Nancy] Cantor, Bernie Fine's employment with Syracuse University has been terminated, effective immediately," university spokesman Kevin Quinn announced.
The 65-year-old Fine, who has worked as a Syracuse coach for 36 years straight (a record in his division), calls the allegations "patently false." But head coach Jim Boeheim, who has worked with Fine at his side for 35 of those years, backed the decision in a statement that also denies any complicity — despite one of the accusers claiming that Boeheim was fully aware of the sexual abuse.
"The allegations that have come forth today are disturbing and deeply troubling," the Hall of Fame coach said in a statement released this evening. "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."
The tape was made in 2002 by Bobby Davis — a now 39-year-old man who was in seventh grade when the alleged abuse began, while he worked after school helping out around the court. In it, Davis confronts Fine's wife over the phone.
"I know everything that went on, you know. I know everything that went on with him," the woman identified as Laurie Fine tells Davis, "Bernie has issues, maybe that he's not aware of, but he has issues ... And you trusted somebody you shouldn't have trusted."
Way to blame the victim, Mrs. Child Rapist. Davis released the tape today to ESPN, and the dominos began to fall. Meanwhile, variations on a most unfortunate wire photo of Fine (see above) have been accompanying the story around the web. [ABC News, ESPN, Photo via Getty]