The Two-Way
9:15 am
Wed December 7, 2011

Though Accusers Are 'Credible,' No State Charges Against Syracuse Coach

A local prosecutor says he believes two men who have alleged that a former Syracuse University assistant basketball coach sexually abused them when they were children are credible — but can't pursue charges because the statute of limitations has passed.

The Associated Press reports that the decision by Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick only means that there won't be a case brought against Bernie Fine under state law. "A federal probe is ongoing," AP notes.

But as the AP has also reported, the clock is ticking on that investigation. It centers on an allegation from another man who is now 23-years-old and "the federal statute of limitations in effect in 2002 allows prosecution until the victim reaches age 25."

Fine, who through his attorneys has said he never sexually abused anyone, was fired by the university on Nov. 27. The accusations against him began with allegations from two former ball boys with the team who say he abused them in the early and mid-1980s.

The news of the allegations against Fine followed closely the scandal at Penn State University, where former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky faces 40 criminal counts related to the alleged sexual abuse of eight boys over more than a decade. Sandusky has said he's innocent. Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno and university President Graham Spanier lost their jobs after a grand jury reported that they had been told about at least some of Sandusky's alleged acts and did not alert authorities.

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