ESPN, Syracuse newspaper held off publishing Bernie Fine sexual abuse allegations

The Post-Standard | ESPN
Bobby Davis, one of the men who has accused former Syracuse University assistant men’s basketball coach Bernie Fine of molestation, brought his allegations to the Syracuse newspaper in September 2002. He backed it up with an October 2002 recording of a phone call with Fine’s wife, who didn’t sound surprised when Davis told her of the abuse. “After a six-month investigation, The Post-Standard did not publish a story about Davis’ allegations or the tape in 2002 because the newspaper could find no witnesses, enough corroborating evidence or a second accuser,” the Post-Standard reports. Executive Editor Michael Connor describes the extensive reporting that led to the conclusion that the newspaper didn’t have a publishable story. “We decided to curtail the investigation, keep in touch with Davis and resume reporting on it in earnest if another accuser or new information emerged,” he writes. Davis then gave the recording to ESPN, which says it came to the same decision: “At the time, ESPN did not report Davis’ accusations, or report the contents of the tape, because no one else would corroborate his story.” ESPN had a voice-recognition expert listen to the tape after another man stepped forward earlier this month to accuse Fine of sexual abuse. || Related: Syracuse authorities did nothing in 2002 when Bernie Fine abuse allegations surfaced, accuser and friend say (The Post-Standard) | Syracuse student newspaper pulls together special edition after Fine is fired ( || Identifying without naming: Patriot-News editor says there have been “passionate” responses to editorial criticizing New York Times for publishing identifying details of alleged victim of Sandusky; Times says it tried “to preserve some privacy for him in the wider world, despite the fact that his identity is already widely known in the college community.” (, The New York Times, The Washington Post)

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  • Anonymous

    ESPN should have immediately turned the tapes over to the authorities…massive failure on their part. Their hypocrisy is astounding, especially after their recent Penn State reporting and the fact that they flat out said there was a moral obligation on the part of Joe Paterno and others to report info to the authorities immediately. I hope ESPN is sued and held to the same standards as everyday people. Again, ESPN is not the judge and jury and no media outlet should sit on possible child rape evidence for 8 years!

  • Anonymous

    well they can’t let child rape charges ruin an NCAA tournament bid.  

    these Syracuse dopes show their true concerns

  • Anonymous

    What I find laughable is the use of the term “corroborating evidence” by a newspaper, a legal standard that is almost never employed or expected by media today. Newspapers aren’t prosecutors. 

    Having the accuser and the verified 2002 tape was NOT enough to go with a story? 

  • Durty

    It’s because their is a double standard in our society regarding who we “expect” and “suspect” of committing crimes. I believe if this college coach and others accused of these crimes were just an average, everyday, blue-collar working class dad, his face would be plastered all over the paper, so much identifying information would be provided that you almost be certain to discover the victim’s identity, and the alleged perp would be guilty until proven innocent.

    Having worked in the field, I have seen the double standard in the media and within the the criminal justice system. If you review sexual assault stats (reports, convictions, etc.) state-by-state amongst the various agencies, you will find that there is hardly ever any justice for victims of abuse, especially male victims. It’s why I quit the field!

    The trauma and life of pain caused by the abuse, the denial, the criminal justice system, the media reporting, and the lack of societal support makes it not even worth reporting the crimes until times like these when its a huge story and MAYBE something will be done about it.