Today the U.S. Justice Department (“DOJ”) has closed its investigation into former Syracuse University assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine. For the Justice Department to have proceeded to prosecute Mr. Fine it would have had to have determined that it had “sufficient evidence to obtain and sustain a federal conviction.” In other words, DOJ would have had to have found that the conduct alleged constituted a federal crime and that they could prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt.
The DOJ did not conclude that they had sufficient evidence to meet that high standard which is required for a federal prosecution. In its statement, the DOJ affirmed that the "closure of [its] investigation does not constitute a determination of what did or did not happen."
The DOJ's decision does not indicate that there is or is not merit to the allegations against Mr. Fine and it does not vindicate him. To the contrary, many individuals in both in state and federal law enforcement have stated repeatedly that they believe Bobby Davis was credible when he reported his allegations of sexual abuse by Bernie Fine.
The District Attorney of Onondaga County, New York, William Fitzpatrick, has even stated publicly in a news conference that he believes Bobby Davis and Mike Lang but that the statute of limitations prevents him from prosecuting a case against Bernie Fine. In other words, because of New York’s statute of limitations, it is now too late for him to prosecute such a case.
We once again urge New York legislature to pass and Governor Cuomo to sign the Markey Bill which would change and lengthen the statute of limitations. The Markey Bill would protect and provide more rights to victims of childhood sexual abuse who often suffer in silence for years and do not come forward either because of threats from abusers or because of feelings of guilt or public shame.
We are proud of our client Bobby Davis, for his courage in speaking out. He has done so in the hope that it will empower other victims of child sexual abuse and protect children.