Police search Bernie Fine's home
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Authorities involved in a sexual-abuse investigation of Syracuse University assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine carried out a search at his home Friday but declined to comment on the purpose of their search.
New York State Police spokesman Jack Keller said troopers were called to assist the U.S. attorney's office at the search. According to The Post-Standard newspaper, officers from the U.S. Secret Service and Syracuse police were part of the search team.
Assistant U.S. Attorney William Pericak said he "can't confirm or deny" an investigation.
"We don't comment on whether or not search warrants are being executed -- we only comment at the time of public events," Pericak said. "I'm not saying there was or wasn't one here. But when you get a search warrant that's sealed, it remains sealed until a court unseals it."
He said the goal is to avoid "a trial in the press."
The Post-Standard newspaper reported that four state troopers stood at the end of the driveway at Fine's home in suburban DeWitt on Friday afternoon. It said at least six police vehicles were parked on the street and officers were looking through a trash can.
According to the newspaper, Fine watched as authorities conducted the search, which started at about 1:45 p.m. ET and lasted until 9 p.m. ET. The Post-Standard reported that three filing cabinets were taken away.
Syracuse police spokesman Sgt. Tom Connellan wouldn't comment on any of the activity going on at the house. He referred all questions to Pericak at the U.S. attorney's office in Albany.
Two former ball boys for the Syracuse basketball team, Bobby Davis and his stepbrother, Mike Lang, have said they were molested more than 25 years ago by Fine, who is on paid administrative leave from the university. Fine has called the allegations "patently false."
Syracuse mayor Stephanie Miner has strongly defended the city police department against accusations by Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick that police officials criminally leaked a witness affidavit to embarrass his office.
At a news conference Wednesday, Fitzpatrick accused Syracuse police chief Frank Fowler and deputy chief Sean Broton of leaking the affidavit. At issue is the handling in 2002 of Davis' initial claims that Fine had molested him.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.