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College Sports, Division I, Division II, Division III, Education

Law Firm Concludes Syracuse’s Investigative Process on Sex-Abuse Allegations was Flawed

Syracuse University released a report on Thursday, July 5, 2012, containing the results of an independent investigation into how the institution addressed allegations in 2005 that then-assistant men’s basketball coach Bernie Fine sexually abused a boy. The report, which was prepared by an outside law firm, faulted some aspects of the institution’s 2005 investigation and response. Syracuse retained its longtime outside legal counsel, Bond Schoeneck & King, PLLC, in 2005 to deal with the allegations. BS&K conducted an investigation–which concluded the 2005 allegations could not be substantiated. However, the July 5 report questioned how Syracuse handled the allegations and internal investigation. CBSSports.com reported:

“Although the 52-page document states there was no attempt to “cover up” any conduct, it reiterates a criticism voiced by Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick that police and the district attorney should have been notified immediately so they could conduct the investigation with all the experience and tools available to law enforcement.

The report, which does not reach any conclusion about the validity of Davis’ claims, also said the school’s counsel should have alerted Chancellor Nancy Cantor to allegations that student athletes may have had sexual encounters with Bernie Fine’s wife, Laurie Fine, and that Cantor should have informed the board of trustees of the allegations.”

Syracuse, in response to the July 5 report, “concludes that when viewed in hindsight, the process was imperfect, and some of the judgments made could have been better. Among other things, the report notes that the university should have made direct contact with law enforcement; that the university’s counsel should have alerted the chancellor to allegations that student athletes may have had sexual encounters with Laurie Fine, Bernie Fine’s wife; and that the Board of Trustees (or some components thereof) should have been informed of the allegations.”

To read the complete article on this story, please click here.

About Michael L. Buckner, Esquire

An attorney who provides clients with internal investigation, compliance, professional development and legal services.

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