51 weeks after we first started hearing about the accusations of child sexual abuse against Syracuse basketball coach Bernie Fine the investigation is over. We had waited for months for the U. S. Attorney to announce what the community had come to believe, there would be no charges filed.
They Feds used the rich arsenal of resources at their disposal to turn over every rock and hard drive they could to see if claims of abuse could be substantiated. And, to see whether any of Fine's actions could be prosecuted. They concluded they could not. The U.S. Attorney did not offer a stamp of innocence for Fine. The community is left wondering what may have happened between him and some of his accusers. He no longer has to worry that he will go on trial for what they claimed he did.
Upon reflecting on the upcoming anniversary of the case I recalled some of what I wrote in the initial blog about Bernie Fine.
Matt's Memo, November 2011
Bernie Fine has long been the nice guy in the background who has sent Syracuse centers to the NBA, raised a nice family and helped his community be a better place.
That well established position in the community and the adamant defense from his friend and boss Jim Boeheim has left the Central New York fans struggling to believe the stories of the two former ball boys who are claiming they were abused. These are fans that endure sub-zero temperatures to pack the Carrier Dome 30,000 strong every winter.
A strong passionate fan base does not guarantee innocence when it comes to charges of sexual abuse, just ask the Penn State faithful. It does make it more difficult to believe allegations or to accept them as true before evidence and corroboration are presented supporting them.
That community sentiment raises the question about impartiality. The district attorney is a vocal supporter of Coach Jim Boeheim. The former police chief was a former Syracuse Orange player. That's the nature of this community. It is also generally a town that does what's right and delivers the truth. District Attorney Bill Fizpatrick prides himself on that.
This is a big deal. It needs to be thoroughly investigated. The community, the accused and the accusers deserve to be heard and receive a full explanation of the facts.
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