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D.A. can't charge Fine

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — A county district attorney who has sharply criticized police and Syracuse University for their handling of sex-abuse allegations against former assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine said Wednesday he cannot charge Fine but found that two men who have accused him of sexual abuse are credible.

Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick said his investigation into the claims against Fine started out to answer several questions, among them: Were the first two accusers, Bobby Davis and his stepbrother Michael Lang, being truthful?

"On almost every single criteria, Bobby Davis came out as a credible person," Fitzpatrick said. "Mike Lang also comes across as a credible person."

On accuser Zach Tomaselli, 23, Fitzpatrick said he has turned over school records and team travel records that may call into question Tomaselli's claim that Fine abused him in 2002 in a Pittsburgh hotel when the team played a road game there. He called the records "exculpatory," evidence that helps the defense.

Fine's lawyers say the records appear to prove Tomaselli lied.

Tomaselli is one of three men who accuse Fine of molesting them when they were boys. Tomaselli's claims are the only ones among the three that are eligible for prosecution within the statute of limitations.

"It appears now that there is proof that Tomaselli fabricated this allegation," Fine's lawyers, Donald Martin and Karl Sleight, said in a joint statement, their first since early in the 3-week-old scandal. "The incredible damage that Tomaselli has inflicted on Mr. Fine cannot be overstated."

Tomaselli's phone rang unanswered Wednesday.

Fine, 65, who had been Hall of Fame coach Jim Boeheim's top assistant since 1976, has adamantly denied wrongdoing in all the cases. He was fired Nov. 27.

Top 25

NO. 5 LOUISVILLE 90, IUPUI 60: Chris Smith matched his career best with 19 points to reach 1,000 for his career, and the Cardinals (8-0) won their 16th straight game at home.

NO. 7 DUKE 87, COLORADO ST. 64: Freshman Austin Rivers had 17 points for the host Blue Devils (8-1), who shot 56 percent and bounced back from last week's lopsided loss at Ohio State.

NO. 8 XAVIER 73, BUTLER 61: Tu Holloway scored 14 of his 16 from the free-throw line and Mark Lyons also had 16 points for the visiting Musketeers (7-0).

NO. 14 WISCONSIN 70, GREEN BAY 42: Jordan Taylor had 15 points and 10 assists for the host Badgers (7-2), who took control with a 14-1 run in the first half.

DAYTON 74, NO. 16 ALABAMA 62: Chris Johnson had 20 points and the host Flyers closed with a 17-9 run to knock off the Crimson Tide (7-2) and ruin head coach Anthony Grant's homecoming.

NO. 22 TEXAS A&M 64, SAM HOUSTON ST. 37: Ray Turner had 15 points and 10 rebounds for the host Aggies (7-1), who have held four straight teams under 45 points.

NO. 24 ILLINOIS 48, ST. BONAVENTURE 43: Brandon Paul scored 12 in the final four minutes to help the host Illini (9-0) rally.

Women

UF 91, S.F. 68: Jennifer George had 24 points and 11 rebounds for the visiting Gators (6-2), who blew it open early and bounced back from a loss to Rutgers.

ECKERD 86, NORTHWOOD 41: Freshman Kayla Bowlin had a career-high 17 points off the bench to lead six players in double figures for the host Tritons (5-1), winners of four straight.

TAMPA 68, AVE MARIA 66: Illyssa Vivo had 23 points and Kamari Smith hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:06 left to lift the host Spartans (4-5).

NO. 3 NOTRE DAME 95, MARQUETTE 42: Kayla McBride had 19 points for the host Irish (8-1), who won their fifth straight game in their Big East opener.

NO. 16 TEXAS TECH 88, TEXAS-ARLINGTON 48: Casey Morris scored 22 of her career-high 24 in the first half as the host Raiders (8-0) took a 20-1 lead.

NO. 18 UNC 95, LIPSCOMB 53: Chay Shegog had a career-high 26 points and 11 rebounds for the host Tar Heels (6-1).

NO. 19 G'TOWN 82, PITT 54: Sugar Rodgers had 28 points for the visiting Hoyas (8-2), who used aggressive defense to run away early in their Big East opener.

No. 22 DePaul 69, St. John's 52: Keisha Hampton had 21 points for the host Blue Demons (7-1), who won their fifth straight in their Big East opener.

NO. 23 VANDY 99, UT-MARTIN 84: Jasmine Lister had 30 points for the visiting Commodores (10-0), who shot 60 percent.

D.A. can't charge Fine 12/07/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 7, 2011 11:45pm]

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