Impossible to Un-Convict Bernie Fine

Impossible to Un-Convict Bernie Fine

From the start, the reaction to the investigation into the Bernie Fine case was nearly as troubling as the accusations of the Bernie Fine case.

In a post-Jerry Sandusky world, the similarities between a former Penn State assistant football coach (Sandusky) and a current Syracuse assistant basketball coach (Fine) involved in sexual molestation allegations produced assumptions that overwhelmed the reality of the situation and an understanding of the judicial process.

In November 2011, Sandusky was charged by a grand jury with 52 counts of sexually molesting 10 boys. It was the end of a significant, three-year state police investigation. No less than the attorney general of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania made the charges. Eight of the boys testified in person in front of the grand jury, as did supporting witnesses and Sandusky coworkers. It was an exhaustive process just to get the charges.

Sandusky was eventually convicted of 45 charges and sentenced to at least 30 years in prison.

In November 2011, Bernie Fine was accused on ESPN by two former Syracuse ball boys of sexually abusing them in the 1980s. Local police previously looked into the case and declined to press charges. A similar Syracuse University investigation also found it had no merit.

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