The Bobby Davis and Laurie Fine Phone Conversation
On Oct. 8, 2002, Bobby Davis, former ball boy at Syracuse University, taped a phone conversation between himself and Laurie Fine, wife of longtime Syracuse associate head basketball coach Bernie Fine. Her comments indicated that she may have known or suspected that her husband molested Davis when he frequently stayed at their home as a child, although she never went so far as to admit to having seen it happen. Davis has accused Bernie fine of sexually abusing him for about 15 years beginning when he was only in seventh grade.
Davis gave the tape to the Syracuse Post-Standard in 2002 and ESPN in 2003, but both declined to publish the information, at least in part because there wasn't enough evidence and there were no other witnesses. Davis also reportedly went to Syracuse police in 2002, but no investigation was launched. Syracuse University investigated Davis's allegations in 2005 and found no corroborating evidence.
On the tape, Laurie and Davis discuss Bernie Fine's molestation openly. Davis even asked Mrs. Fine, "You think I'm the only one he's ever done that to?" and she replied, "No." The tape also seems to confirm that Laurie Fine herself had a sexual relationship with Davis, who said later in an interview that it occurred when he was 18 and that he had told Bernie Fine about it. Laurie Fine has denied that she and Davis had such a relationship.
The tape was finally released by ESPN in November 2011, after Davis's older stepbrother reported that Fine also molested him when he was a ball boy. The tape along with the new allegations resulted in Syracuse putting Bernie Fine on administrative leave. However, the age of the alleged crime meant that the statute of limitations had passed, so the police could not investigate.
A few days after the tape emerged, a third man accused Bernie Fine of molesting him in a hotel room in 2002 when he was 13, the night before an away game in Pittsburgh. After the third allegation -- a more recent crime -- police conducted a search of the Fines' home.
Laurie Fine threatened to sue ESPN for libel for releasing segments of the tape, prompting them to release the full 47-minute tape. As of mid-2013, Bernie Fine has denied all charges.