The New York Personal Injury Blog

Syracuse University Sex Abuse Scandal Involving Basketball

Perhaps the one bright spot to come from the Penn State University/Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal is that it may have emboldened other child sex abuse victims to come forward to speak out about their tormenters.

In an eerily similar case, Syracuse University and its storied basketball program is accused of being involved in a child sex abuse scandal involving an assistant coach. Bernie Fine plays the role of Jerry Sandusky, alleged child abuser and legendary Orangemen coach Jim Boeheim could play the role of Joe Paterno, alleged enabler.

Bobby Davis has come forward and alleged that assistant coach Bernie Fine molested him for more than a dozen years beginning in the mid-1980s when Davis was a ball boy for the team, reports ESPN.

Davis, who is now 39, says the abuse began when he was in the seventh grade. He claims that he was sexually abused at Fine's home, at the Syracuse basketball facilities, and on team road trips. Davis claims that Boeheim even came into Fine's hotel room and found the boy lying on Fine's bed without ever asking any questions, reports ESPN.

Similar to the Penn State case, Syracuse University knew about the complaints of abuse as early 2005, reports ESPN. But in this case, the university said it conducted its own investigation, and said that it did not find enough information to prove that Fine did anything wrong.

However, this does not mean that the university is clear of all liability.

Penn State University also believed that it followed the letter of the law, before it realized that maybe it didn't. Like with Penn State football, Syracuse basketball is king and there's a chance that an investigation into the basketball program may not have been as thorough as it could have been.

Penn State University is now exposed to substantial personal injury liability because it allegedly knew about child sexual abuse by Jerry Sandusky and chose to do nothing, in fact even allowing Sandusky to use campus facilities for his youth charity.

In the Syracuse University sex abuse scandal, the university also knew of sexual abuse complaints involving Bernie Fine, and still let him coach. If it is shown that the university was negligent or careless in looking into Fine, Syracuse University could also be exposed to the same types of significant civil, and perhaps even criminal, liability.

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