DA unhappy with Syracuse police

Updated: November 23, 2011, 5:46 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- The ex-girlfriend of Bobby Davis, one of two men who have accused Syracuse associate head men's basketball coach Bernie Fine of molesting him, said in a sworn statement that a prosecutor did not return repeated phone messages in which she intended to tell them Fine was molesting Davis, the Syracuse Post-Standard reported.

The woman, Danielle Roach, gave a statement to police on Monday, four days after ESPN's "Outside The Lines" detailed Davis' allegations against Fine, which included years of alleged sexual abuse. Another man, Davis' stepbrother Mike Lang, told ESPN that Fine molested him starting when he was in fifth or sixth grade.

Roach, in her statement, said the Onondaga County District Attorney's office, and specifically current First Chief Assistant District Attorney Rick Trunfio, didn't call her back, the Post-Standard reported.

This should frighten every person in the city of Syracuse. You do not have a police chief. You have a fiefdom.

-- District Attorney William Fitzpatrick

"I called (First Chief Assistant District Attorney) Rick Trunfio and left multiple messages but never got a call back," she said. In her messages to Trunfio, Roach said she had information that a basketball coach at Syracuse had sexually abused a friend of hers, the statement said, according to the Post-Standard.

"I am not sure if I included the name of Bernie Fine in these messages or not," Roach's statement said. "I assumed that maybe since Detective Fox had already given us his answer, this was why I was not getting any return calls."

District Attorney William Fitzpatrick told the Post-Standard there are no records of the statement, nor that Trunfio didn't returned the calls, but he doubted Roach's contention -- calling it "not possible."

"If she had left a message alleging sexual misconduct on the part of any individual, whether it was Joe Blow or Bernie Fine or anybody in the world, there's not a chance in the world that Rick Trunfio wouldn't have returned that phone call," Fitzpatrick told the Post-Standard. "He's famous for returning phone calls."

Wednesday, the release of the statement had Fitzpatrick lashing out at Syracuse police, accusing the department of leaking Roach's statement to embarrass his office.

"This should frighten every person in the city of Syracuse," Fitzpatrick said, according to the Post-Standard. He added: "You do not have a police chief. You have a fiefdom."

Later, at a news conference, he accused police chief Frank Fowler and deputy chief Sean Broton of "intentionally trying to sabotage" the DA's investigation, and even hinted that police officials may be responsible for the vandelism of one of his investigator's cars. He vowed to press on.

"I will do that with or without Frank Fowler. He is irrelevant to me," Fitzpatrick said, the paper said.

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner is defending the police officials, saying police had conducted themselves "with complete professionalism and integrity."

"It is deeply unfortunate for the people of this community, the accused and the accusers that the District Attorney has chosen a different tactic, resorting to personal and professional attacks," Miner said in a statement. "Despite his histrionics and grandstanding, we will continue to investigate these allegations and share information with the authorities, including the District Attorney and the U.S. Attorney's Office, at the appropriate time.

"Let me be clear," Miner continued in her statement, "Chief Fowler and Deputy Chief Broton did not in any way authorize the release of or provide any documents or information to the Syracuse Post Standard. In fact, it should not be lost on the media that the District Attorney has indeed been the only one who has been regularly providing information to the media."

Earlier this week, Miner had said publicly that information would not be released in a piecemal fashion.

"OK, it has been," Fitzpatrick said. "Not by the boogie man, not by the Easter Bunny, but by Chief Fowler ... or somebody did it at their direction."

On Monday, Fitzpatrick accused Syracuse police of resisting his office's attempts to obtain records of the Fine investigation and went to court to get a subpoena for the records. The case was postponed until next week.

Trufino and Fox could not be reached for comment, according to the paper.

On Sunday, Roach told "Outside The Lines" that she watched Davis "go from this really happy, young kid to an angry, closed individual." Asked who could have helped stop it, "I would have hoped it was the abused person's unit (of the Syracuse Police Department)," she said. " ... I would have hoped that if anyone at the university knew this was going on, it would have stopped -- if there were enough instances of questionable behavior that they would have started to add up to somebody."

Roach told ESPN and the Post-Standard that she talked to police detective Doug Fox in 2002, as did Davis, but that Fox told them the statute of limitations had expired on the case. In New York at the time, cases had to be reported within five years of the last sexual contact, or five years from the time the person turned 18.

Fine has been placed on paid administrative leave by the university. In his 36th season as an assistant to Hall of Fame coach Jim Boeheim, Fine has called the charges "patently false," asked for a quick review, and expressed confidence he would be vindicated.

Tuesday, at a news conference prior to the NIT Season Tip-Off in New York, Boeheim said, "We have to see what happens. I support Bernie, as I said. Known him for 50 years. If something else happens, surfaces -- some factual thing -- then we'll have to adjust to that."

Asked if the media "jumped the gun," Boeheim replied. "That's not for me to say."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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