Syracuse assistant coach Bernie Fine has been accused by 2 former ball boys of molesting them over a 16-year period. Bobby Davis (now 39) and his stepbrother Mike Lang (now 45) allege Fine molested them during the 1980s and 1990s.
When Davis went to the police in 2005 to report the alleged crimes, he was told he was out of time - the statute of limitations had run out with respect to charging Fine with a sexual act against a minor. The statute of limitations is the time limit that someone can be charged for a crime.
Here's part of the statement released by Nancy Cantor, chancellor of Syracuse University:
In 2005, Syracuse University was contacted by an adult male who told us that he had reported to the Syracuse City Police that he had been subjected to inappropriate contact by an associate men's basketball coach. The alleged activity took place in the 1980s and 1990s. We were informed by the complainant that the Syracuse City Police had declined to pursue the matter because the statute of limitations had expired.
Fine Can Still Be Charged
In the state of New York, the statute of limitations for a sex act against a child expires 5 years after the child's 18th birthday. Davis is now 39 years old, so that would have been in the 1990s.
However, there is no statute of limitations if the sexual abuse is severe enough to constitute sexual conduct against a child in the first degree. That means Fine may still be charged.
Here's the wording of the statute:
§ 130.75 Course of sexual conduct against a child in the first degree.
1. A person is guilty of course of sexual conduct against a child in the first degree when, over a period of time not less than three months in duration:
(a) he or she engages in two or more acts of sexual conduct, which includes at least one act of sexual intercourse, oral sexual conduct, anal sexual conduct or aggravated sexual contact, with a child less than eleven years old; or
(b) he or she, being eighteen years old or more, engages in two or more acts of sexual conduct, which include at least one act of sexual intercourse, oral sexual conduct, anal sexual conduct or aggravated sexual contact, with a child less than thirteen years old.
Davis alleged the abuse started when he was in grade 5 or 6, which would make him between 10 and 13 years old. Potentially, that falls within the wording of the statute.
As well, don't forget the statute of limitations can be different from state to state. So if it's alleged that abuse occurred in another state, you would need to look at that state's statute of limitations.
Finally, more alleged victims may come forward. So this case is not done.
One more thing - these are only allegations. Fine has not been found guilty and the process should be respected.