A third victim has accused a longtime assistant basketball coach at Syracuse University of sexually abusing him as a child. Bernie Fine, who has coached at Syracuse for 35 years, has already been accused of molesting family friend Bobby Davis “hundreds of times” over a ten-year period, beginning when he was entering seventh grade, as well as Davis' stepbrother Mike Lang. Now Zach Tomaselli, 23, claims Fine molested him in 2002 in a Pittsburgh hotel room when Tomaselli was 13 years old.
Tomaselli, who is facing sexual assault charges in Maine involving a 14-year-old boy, said he signed a police affidavit on Wednesday accusing Fine of molesting him in the Pittsburgh hotel the night before an SU-Pitt game. There are no witnesses nor physical evidence to back up the allegations, but Tomaselli’s friend, Rose Ryan, signed a statement that alleged Tomaselli told her two years ago about the abuse.
On Friday, about a dozen U.S. Secret Service agents, Syracuse police and state police officers searched Fine’s home for seven hours, and hauled away three file cabinets as well as Fine’s cell phone and a computer.
Another bombshell was dropped by ESPN: it seems that Davis, who worked as the Syracuse team's ball boy for six years beginning in 1984, recorded a 2002 phone conversation with Fine's wife Laurie, in which she admitted she was concerned about her husband's behavior and may have confirmed some of the allegations. You can hear some of the conversation in the clip below.
Among other thing, Fine told Davis: "I know everything that went on, you know. I know everything that went on with him...Bernie has issues, maybe that he's not aware of, but he has issues...And you trusted somebody you shouldn't have trusted...Bernie is also in denial. I think that he did the things he did, but he's somehow through his own mental telepathy has erased them out of his mind."
Davis told ESPN, "Laurie was a person I talked to a lot about this situation as I got older. And she was there a lot of the times, and had seen a lot of the things that were going on when Bernie would come down to the basement in his house at night." It was also revealed that Davis had a relationship with Laurie Fine as well, that occurred when he was a senior in high school—Davis told Bernie Fine about it, and didn't seem to care.
There was also the incident involving Davis asking Fine for money to help pay off his student loans:
During the phone call, Davis told Laurie Fine that when he was about 27 years old in the late 1990s, he asked her husband for $5,000 to help pay off his student loans.
"When he gave you the money, what does he want for that? He wants you to grab him or he wanted to do you?" she asked.
"He wanted to do me. He wanted me to touch him, too. He tried to make me touch him a couple of times. He'd grab my hand, and then I'd pull away, and then he'd put me in your bed, and then you know, put me down, and I'd try to go away, and he'd put his arm on top of my chest. He goes, 'If you want this money, you'll stay right here,' " Davis said.
"Right. Right ... ," Laurie Fine said. "He just has a nasty attitude, because he didn't get his money, nor did he get what he wanted. He didn't get ... "
Davis interrupted her at that point and said, "It's not about the money." To which Laurie Fine replied, "It's about the d---. I know that. So you're -- I'm just telling you for your own good, you're better off just staying away from him."