By Michael O'Keefe (NY Daily News)
November 28, 2011
A national sex-abuse survivors group is calling for Syracuse University to discipline longtime basketball coach Jim Boeheim for calling Bernie Fine's accusers liars and extortionists.
"We're glad that Bernie Fine has been fired but it's crucial that Syracuse University officials discipline Jim Boeheim for his extraordinarily hurtful recent comments attacking abuse victims," David Clohessy, the director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said in a statement released on Monday.
"Boeheim's apology will do little or nothing to 'undo' the harm he's caused. Nor will it deter others from making similarly callous comments in the future," Clohessy said.
On Sunday, Syracuse chancellor Nancy Cantor announced that the university had fired Fine, just hours after ESPN broadcast a 2002 tape recording of Fine's wife, Laurie, telling accuser Bobby Davis that she feared her husband had molested Davis when he was a boy.
Boeheim vociferously defended his assistant coach when the sex abuse allegations first became public earlier this month, claiming that Davis and his relative, Mike Lang, had gone to ESPN with fabricated sex abuse claims in an attempt to make money.
"I believe they saw what happened at Penn State and they are using ESPN to get money," Boeheim said earlier this month.
A third man, Zach Tomaselli, told Syracuse police last week that Fine had abused him in 2002, when Tomaselli was 13 years old.
Boeheim said on Sunday that the university did the right thing in firing Fine in the wake of the 2002 tape, and he apologized for his statements criticizing Davis and Lang.
"I deeply regret any statements I made that might have inhibited that from occurring or been insensitive to victims of abuse," he said.
But that is not enough for SNAP's Clohessy, who said that Boeheim has already done irreparable damage.
"If the university really wants to move forward, and create a safe climate for abuse victims, it must take decisive action against Boeheim," Clohessy said.