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Boeheim backs off shot at Paterno

November 21, 2011 - Neil Rudel
In the wake of the Penn State scandal came a troubling story reported Thursday night by ESPN that longtime and current Syracuse University basketball assistant coach Bernie Fine sexually molested a former Syracuse ball boy over a period of 15 years.

ESPN reported that the ball boy, Bobby Davis, alleged that Fine had molested him repeatedly over 15 years, beginning in the mid-1980s, when Davis was 12 or 13.

Syracuse investigated the allegation in 2005 investigation after Davis brought the allegations to the university and determined them to be unfounded.

Veteran Syracuse basketball coach Jim Boeheim has come out in strong support of Fine, who has been placed on administrative leave.

Boeheim said he never noticed any inappropriate interaction between Davis and Fine, adding if he had, he would have reported it. Boeheim says Davis "is lying."

After the Orange pounded Colgate on Friday night, the subject of course came up quickly and in the course of defending Fine, Boeheim was quoted as saying, "I am not Joe Paterno.”

The comment seemed to be recklessly insensitive, given that Paterno has lost his job over the allegation that he didn't do enough and that news came out earlier in the day that he had been diagnosed with lung cancer.

Boeheim backed off it Saturday.

“That whole thing came about from kind of ranting about stuff," he said. "This is the only thing I’ll talk about [relative to the Fine allegations] because that bothered me. When Coach Paterno said ‘I didn't do enough, I could have done more,’ it was that kind of reference. If I had heard something or something had happened or something happens today -- then I am going to do something. It was kind of that reference. It was not meant to be what it was turned into."

Syracuse spokesman Pete Moore added, "Coach Boeheim's intent was to make clear that had he been aware of what has been alleged, he would have acted. He was not criticizing Coach Paterno or Penn State's handling of their situation at all."

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