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Lack of evidence ends sex abuse case

Federal prosecutors stirred up a hornet's nest when they accused Bernie Fine, an assistant basketball coach at Syracuse University, of a sex crime. They claimed that he sexually molested a minor in Pittsburgh in a motel room. Now, after the publicity of the lurid charges have already cost Fine his job and his reputation, prosecutors have finally admitted that they have no choice but to drop the charges for lack of sufficient evidence.

The investigation went on for over a year without finding any such evidence, dragging Fine through the mud in the media in the interim and throwing the basketball team into turmoil. The alleged sex crime, which prosecutors now admit they cannot show ever occurred, was purported to have taken place in 2002, around a decade ago in a Pittsburgh hotel room.

His defense attorneys stated that they were not surprised that the charges, which they said inflicted irreparable harm on the accused and his family, had been tossed out. There were no indications whether or not the former assistant coach would get his job back now that he has been vindicated.

The charges had been based on statements made by a 23-year-old man asserting that Fine had molested him in 2002 in a hotel room while the assistant coach was traveling with the team, which was playing there.

A federal law allows for the prosecution of alleged sex crimes against children as long as the supposed victim comes forward before they are 25.

Fine categorically denied the accusation as concocted, but the university fired him last November without waiting to see whether the charges had any basis in fact.

It's easy to see the devastating effects of a sex offense allegation. When someone faces this sort of accusation without proof, they should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney who understands not only the law, but the legal system and how to help clients get exonerated.

Source: KNOE.com, "Feds drop sex abuse case against Syracuse's Fine," Nov. 9, 2012

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