Bernie Fine

News, opinion related to Syracuse assistant Bernie Fine

Ex-Syracuse assistant coach Bernie Fine drops lawsuit against ESPN, wife Laurie’s suit pending in federal court

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On Tuesday, attorneys for Bernie Fine — a former Syracuse men’s basketball assistant coach — announced that their client was dropping his defamation lawsuit against ESPN, according to the Associated Press.

Three weeks ago, it was reported that Fine was suing the company for $11 million. Tuesday afternoon, Fine’s attorneys from Harris Beach PLLC issued the following statement:

“On Tuesday, July 2, 2013, Bernie Fine filed a voluntary Notice of Dismissal of his lawsuit against ESPN, ending all litigation. Although Mr. Fine and his attorneys are convinced that his legal claim has merit, Mr. Fine desires to finally put all of the turmoil of the past year and a half behind him, so that he may concentrate on his future as well as the future of his family. Mr. Fine has been and continues to be overwhelmed by the many, many friends who have stood by him and who provided him with the strength to get through the most difficult time in his life. He will be forever grateful for their support and friendship.”

The 67-year-0ld Fine sued ESPN over broadcasts from November 2011, claiming he molested two former Cuse ball boys two decades earlier. Fine, though investigated, was never charged.

Although Bernie Fine dropped his suit with ESPN, his wife Laurie has a separate defamation suit against the same company. The AP, reported that Laurie’s lawsuit is pending in federal court.

Bernie Fine was fired by Syracuse on Nov. 27, 2011.

Terrence is also the lead writer at NEHoopNews.com and can be followed on Twitter: @terrence_payne

Report: Former Syracuse assistant Bernie Fine suing ESPN for $11 million

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According to a report citing court documents, former Syracuse assistant coach Bernie Fine is suing ESPN for $11 million.

The report, which comes from CNYCentral.com, also says the case removes the reporter and producer at ESPN that worked on the story involving former Orange ball boy Bobby Davis, who came forward with claims that he and another man, Mike Lang, were molested by Fine as children while they were around the program.

The initial hearing in the case is set for July 18 in front of a United States Magistrate Judge in New York. ESPN is the only defendant in the case.

Fine initially claimed defamation in November of 2011 after ESPN reported their original findings. Fine was fired shortly afterward by Syracuse Chancellor Nancy Cantor. Fine had been involved in the Orange men’s basketball program since 1963, when he was a student manager.

After the two individuals’ stories were found to be made up, the charges against Fine were dropped.

Follow David Harten on Twitter at @David_Harten

Ex-Syracuse assistant Bernie Fine reportedly to sue ESPN

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In November 2011 ESPN reported that two former Syracuse ball boys accused then-assistant coach Bernie Fine of sexually assaulting them, and the firestorm would eventually lead to Fine losing his job when a third accuser surfaced.

An investigation into the allegations led to no charges being filed against Fine. And just hours before the program takes the Verizon Center court it was reported by the Syracuse Post-Standard that former assistant Bernie Fine has filed the initial paperwork in a defamation suit against ESPN.

Fine is seeking unspecified damages from the network, and according to the Post-Standard neither his legal representation nor an ESPN spokesperson were willing to comment on the pending litigation.

However, ESPN spokesman David Scott did tell the newspaper that the network stood by its reporting of the allegations.

How much of a distraction will this be for Syracuse when they take on Indiana, and possibly for the remainder of the weekend should the Orange beat the Hoosiers? Not much, given how long Fine’s been away from the program.

While questions about the lawsuit could lead to an ornery head coach, don’t expect this to be something that distracts the Orange from the task at hand.

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

Bernie Fine will not be charged in child molestation case

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After all the headlines, controversy and the loss of his job, former Syracuse assistant coach Bernie Fine will not be charged in his ongoing child molestation case.

The news comes via Syracuse.com, after officials spent nearly a year researching over 100,000 pages of documents and listening to the testimony of several alleged victims. Steven Clymer, an assistant United States Attorney, filed court documents on Friday morning officially ending the investigation that began when former Orange ball-boys Bobby Davis and Mike Lang, who are stepbrothers, made  accusations that Fine sexually abused them as children in the 1980s. Two additional accusers, Zach Tomaselli and Floyd Van Hooser, have since admitted to lying about their accusations.

It’s small consolation for Fine, who lost his job just 10 days after he was accused of these crimes.

The big question now is, what’s the university going to do? Fine was a long-time assistant under coach Jim Boeheim for 35 years who was immediately cast aside. Will they offer him his old job? Will Fine file a wrongful termination suit? Will the  program jump the gun and offer him some sort of cash settlement as penance? I’d be willing to bet the school has something planned to apologize to Fine.

If they don’t that’s a travesty. In this country — to go all America on you — you’re innocent until proven guilty and in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky case, Syracuse jumped the gun to make sure that there wasn’t an trouble as a university if something did happen. Nothing did and now there are going to be consequences for the school not having any trust in Fine.

Fine has denied all wrongdoing since the charges came about.

While none of us will know the whole story and who is telling the truth, it’s at least great to hear that were weren’t experiencing some sort of  sick trend within college sports of coaching violating the trust they have with young people for some twisted and disgusting need.

David Harten is the editor of The Backboard Chronicles. You can follow him on Twitter at @David_Harten

Former Syracuse assistant Bernie Fine reportedly ‘no longer affiliated’ with Israeli team

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Former Syracuse assistant Bernie Fine is “no longer affiliated” with Israeli Maccabi Haifa, the team that hired him as a consultant in April, according to EuroBasket.com.

“Bernie Fine’s role was a consultant for the preseason,” Haifa told the website. “He is not currently with the club, but we are discussing future roles with the team down the road.”

Fine was an assistant at Syracuse for 36 years before being fired in November amid allegations of sexual molestation, but was never charged.

The claims of misconduct fall outside of the statute of limitations, meaning that Fine cannot be prosecuted for allegations made by 41-year-old Bobby Davis and his step brother, Michael Lang.

In recent months, attorney Gloria Allred, representing Davis and Lang, brought the issue back to the forefront by alleging that Syracuse may have been in violation of the Clery Act, which “requires colleges and universities that participate in federal financial aid programs to disclose information about crime on campus.”

That news surfaced in July.

For Fine, primary job with Maccabi Haifa was to evaluate talent and help in the team’s search for a coach, which ultimately led to the hiring of former Radford head coach Brad Greenberg. Fine was based in the United States during his time with the team.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Laurie Fine to sue ESPN, accuses network of libel

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Laurie Fine, the wife of former Syracuse assistant coach Bernie Fine, will sue ESPN for libel in response to the network’s reporting of her involvement in the alleged incidents that led to child molestation accusations being levied against her husband, the Post-Standard is reporting.

In a 44-page document provided to the Post-Standard, the lawsuit accuses reporter Mark Schwarz and producer Andy Berko of acting negligently in their reporting of the allegations against Bernie Fine and casting Laurie Fine in a false light by taking her words out of context.

This news comes just prior to Fine’s scheduled 11 a.m. press conference Wednesday, where an announcement of the lawsuit is to be made. She will reportedly file the lawsuit in federal court in the coming days.

The lawsuit goes on to say that ESPN “spitefully destroyed Laurie Fine’s reputation in an attempt to capitalize financially in the wake of the Penn State sex abuse scandal,” including publishing false and defamatory statements, among them that she created “a space in which children could be sexually molested in secret.”

Bernie Fine has not been charged and has denied any and all accusations against him.

Much of Fine’s case against ESPN will hinge on whether she is determined to be a public or private person, as the standards for libel are much higher for a public figure.

As the Post-Standard explains, as a private person, Fine would need to prove that ESPN departed grossly from journalistic standards by publishing the piece, and did so with “gross irresponsibility.”

Were it to be determined that she is a public figure, she would need to prove that ESPN published the report with malice and reckless disregard for the truth.

A link to the text of Fine’s lawsuit can be found here.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_