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 (JimRomenesko.com) || 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." (JimRomenesko.com, The New York Times, The Washington Post)

  • Steve Myers

    Steve Myers was the managing editor of Poynter.org until August 2012, when he became the deputy managing editor and senior staff writer for The Lens, a nonprofit investigative news site in New Orleans.

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