A COUNTY district attorney who has sharply criticized police and Syracuse University for their handling of sex-abuse allegations against an assistant basketball coach said yesterday that he cannot bring charges but found that two men who accused him of sexual abuse are credible.
Onondaga County (N.Y.) District Attorney William Fitzpatrick said his investigation into the claims against fired coach Bernie Fine started out to answer several questions, among them: Were the first two accusers, Bobby Davis and his stepbrother Michael Lang, being truthful?
"On almost every single criteria, Bobby Davis came out as a credible person," the district attorney said. "Mike Lang also comes across as a credible person."
Fitzpatrick said the statute of limitations on claims brought by Davis and Lang for abuses they said happened in the 1980s is long past, barring prosecution by the state. Under the laws at the time, they would have had to make their claims to police within 5 years of the alleged abuse but Davis didn't come forward until 2002 and Lang until this year.
On a third accuser, 23-year-old Zach Tomaselli, Fitzpatrick said he has turned over school records and team travel records that may call into question Tomaselli's claim that Fine abused him in 2002 in a Pittsburgh hotel when the team played a road game there. He called the records "exculpatory," which is evidence that helps the defense.
Fine's lawyers say the records appear to prove Tomaselli lied.
Tomaselli is one of three men who accuse Fine of molesting them when they were boys. Tomaselli's claims are the only ones among the three that are eligible for prosecution within the statute of limitations.
"It appears now that there is proof that Tomaselli fabricated this allegation," Fine's lawyers, Donald Martin and Karl Sleight, said in a joint statement. The 65-year-old Fine, who had been Hall of Fame coach Jim Boeheim's top assistant since 1976, has adamantly denied wrongdoing. He was fired Nov. 27.
Tomaselli's claims fall within federal statutes of limitations and are being investigated by the U.S. Secret Service.
Fitzpatrick said he wouldn't judge Fine.
"It is not my place to pronounce Bernie Fine guilty of anything," he said.
The Legends Classic, which has had three homes in its first 5 years, will be played in the new Barclays Center in 2012. The semifinals and finals of the 12-team tournament will be held in the 18,000-seat arena in Brooklyn that is scheduled to open in September 2012.
* Austin Peay forward Anthony Campbell suffered a season-ending knee injury for the second straight year. The junior tore the lateral meniscus and medial meniscus in his left knee in the Governors' win against Arkansas State on Monday. It was the same injury that sidelined Campbell last season.
In last night's games *
At Dayton, Chris Johnson scored 20 points and the Flyers (6-3) closed with a 17-9 run to knock off No. 16 Alabama (7-2), 74-62, ruining Crimson Tide head coach Anthony Grant's homecoming.
* At Duke, Freshman Austin Rivers scored 17 points to help the No. 7 Blue Devils (8-1) defeat Colorado State (5-4), 87-64.
* At Louisville, Senior Chris Smith matched his personal best with 19 points to reach 1,000 for his career and the No. 5 Cardinals (8-0) beat IUPUI (2-8), 90-60.
* At Florida, Patric Young scored a career-high 25 points, Erving Walker made huge free throws down the stretch and the No. 12 Gators (6-2) rallied to beat Arizona (6-3), 78-72, in overtime.
* At Wisconsin, Jordan Taylor's 15 points and 10 rebounds led the No. 14 Badgers (7-2) over Green Bay (4-5).
* At Texas A & M, Ray Turner had 15 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Aggies (7-1) to 64-37 win over Sam Houston State (3-6).
* At Butler, Tu Holloway scored 14 of his 16 points from the free-throw line and Mark Lyons also had 16 points to help No. 8 Xavier (7-0) hold off the Bulldogs (4-5).
* At Illinois, Brandon Paul scored 12 of his 17 points in the final 4 minutes as the No. 24 Illini (9-0) rallied to defeat St. Bonaventure (3-4), 48-43.