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'05 SU report shows no witnesses believed accusations against Fine

A 2005 investigation ordered by Syracuse University into sex-abuse allegations against a former assistant men's basketball coach found no witnesses who believed the accuser's story.

The inquiry's final report, obtained by the Post-Standard of Syracuse, shows in detail how the school reacted to former ball boy Bobby Davis' accusations against then-assistant coach Bernie Fine. At no point does the report raise concerns about Fine's admitted long-standing, close relationship with a ball boy or Davis' proximity to the basketball team.

Fine, 66, was fired in November, during his 36th year on the staff, after the allegations became public. He has denied the accusations and has not been charged. A federal investigation is still under way.

Syracuse University Chancellor Nancy Cantor declined to comment Monday because the 2005 investigation is being reviewed and because of a lawsuit filed by Davis. The university said it would not release the document because it promised the participants confidentiality.

Davis' attorney criticized the university, saying officials had yet to clarify what they knew.

ESPN first aired Davis' accusations in the fall, but he had approached police and the Post-Standard years earlier.

The university had a law firm look into the allegations after Davis contacted the school in 2005.

Lawyers took statements from seven people, most who said they believed Davis was a liar and that he likely made up the allegations because he was angry at Fine. Head coach Jim Boeheim was contacted by investigators but not formally interviewed because he was not identified as a witness. Boeheim said "these kinds of allegations" had previously been raised by Davis to the Post-Standard and ESPN, according to the report.

According to the report, the university began its investigation after Cantor received an anonymous email in September 2005 alleging an unidentified coach had molested young boys. In a later email to the university, Davis said Fine molested him starting in sixth or seventh grade and continued abusing him until he was 26, according to the report.

The case was referred to the university's human resources department and to Bond, Schoeneck & King, the university's longtime law firm, which investigated Davis' claims and wrote the report.

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