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      Fourth man accuses Bernie Fine of sexual abuse

      Bernie Fine / file

      A New York prison inmate has come forward with accusations that he was sexually molested as a child by former Syracuse University assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine, starting more than 40 years ago.

      The Post-Standard of Syracuse reports that 56-year-old Floyd VanHooser told the newspaper Wednesday that Fine began sexually abusing him when VanHooser was 14 years old.

      VanHooser is the fourth man to accuse Fine of sexual abuse. Fine was fired Nov. 27 after a 36-year career at Syracuse after three men said he molested them when they were boys.

      Fine has denied wrongdoing.

      VanHooser is serving 16 years to life at Clinton state prison for repeatedly burglarizing Syracuse-area homes. He was sentenced in October for being a persistent felony burglar.

      VanHooser told the newspaper Syracuse police interviewed him last month at Elmira Correctional Facility, where he was being held before being moved to Clinton in northern New York. He said police told him that his former case worker contacted them and told them they should talk to VanHooser about his relationship with Fine.

      VanHooser told the Post-Standard that he was orphaned before he was 13 and lived with Fine on and off for nearly 40 years. He said the sexual contact continued over four decades.

      At a press conference on December 7, Onondaga County District Attorney stated his belief in the credibility of Fine's first two accusers, Bobby Davis and Mike Lang. He also questioned the credibility of the third accuser, Zach Tomaselli.

      Fitzpatrick referred to a fourth accuser in the Fine case as someone serving a life sentence in prison as a persistent felon, but didn't disclose his name.

      "There simply is no victim No. 4," Fitzpatrick said during the news conference. The DA did not release VanHooser's name at the press conference.

      VanHooser told the newspaper Syracuse police interviewed him last month at Elmira Correctional Facility, where he was being held before being moved to Clinton in northern New York. He said police told him that his former case worker contacted them and told them they should talk to VanHooser about his relationship with Fine.

      Relatives say both of VanHooser's parents died by the time he was 13. VanHooser told the newspaper he lived with Fine on and off for nearly 40 years. He said the sexual contact continued over that period.

      VanHooser has listed Fine's former Syracuse address as his own in the past, including on a tax lien from 1999. He also worked for several years at a Syracuse University fraternity house where Fine was an adviser for many years.

      VanHooser served state prison sentences for burglaries in 1985, 1998 and 2002 before a judge sentenced him to 16 years to life this fall.

      The Associated Press generally doesn't identify people alleging sexual abuse unless they agree to be identified or publicly identify themselves. The Post-Standard reported that VanHooser agreed to have his name published.

      VanHooser hasn't responded to a written request from The Associated Press for an interview regarding the accusations against Fine.

      (Information from the Associated Press was used in this report).

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