Syracuse University placed assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine on administrative leave Thursday following accusations of molesting ball boys decades ago.
The accusations surfaced just two weeks after the Jerry Sandusky child abuse case shook Penn State.
ESPN reported that the accuser, Bobby Davis, now 39, says the abuse began in 1983, shortly before he entered the seventh grade. Davis charged the molestation occurred in Fine's residence, Syracuse basketball facilities and during road trips.
University officials said Davis reported the abuse to the police six years ago but was told there was nothing left to prosecute as the statute of limitations had expired.
Davis' stepbrother, Mike Lang, now 45, also accused Fine of molesting him around the same time. Lang was also a ball boy on the basketball team.
Syracuse's senior vice president for public affairs, Kevin C. Quinn, said the university began investigating the allegations in 2005, but no evidence was found.
All of those identified by the complainant denied any knowledge of wrongful conduct by the associate coach. The associate coach also vehemently denied the allegations, he said.
Qinn said, Syracuse University takes any allegation of this sort extremely seriously and has zero tolerance for abuse of any kind. If any evidence or corroboration of the allegations had surfaced, we would have terminated the associated coach and reported it to the police immediately.
The university has given its full commitment and cooperation to the ongoing case. Police officials said that the investigation was in its very early stages.
University Chancellor Nancy Cantor, who placed Fine on leave, e-mailed students, urging them to report any suspected abuse cases. Her message read, While we all must be vigilant to prevent instances of violence of any kind, today we want to provide clear direction regarding actual or suspected abuse or violence against our most vulnerable members of society - children.