Syracuse fires assistant basketball coach

SYRACUSE - (AP) - Syracuse University has fired anassistant basketball coach thirty-six years after he was hired amidan investigation into child molestation allegations against him.

Bernie Fine was fired Sunday night after a third man accused him ofmolesting him.

The scandal at Syracuse, a college basketball powerhouse, comesonly weeks after child sexual abuse allegations against anassistant coach ended the legendary career of Penn State footballcoach Joe Paterno.

Fine, who turns 66 in December, held the longest active streakof consecutive seasons at one school among assistant basketballcoaches at the top level of the sport. He has denied theallegations.

Zach Tomaselli, 23, of Maine, said Sunday that he told policethat Fine molested him in 2002 in a Pittsburgh hotel room. Thethird accuser to come forward, Tomaselli said Fine touched him"multiple" times in that one incident. Tomaselli said the scandalat Penn State involving former assistant football coach JerrySandusky prompted him to come forward. Sandusky is accused in agrand jury indictment of sexually abusing eight boys over a 15-yearperiod.

Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, a Hall of Fame member, said hesupported the university's decision to fire his longtime assistantand expressed regret for his initial statements that might havebeen "insensitive to victims of abuse."

"The allegations that have come forth today are disturbing anddeeply troubling," Boeheim said in a statement released by theschool. "I am personally very shocked because I have neverwitnessed any of the activities that have been alleged. I believethe university took the appropriate step tonight. What is mostimportant is that this matter be fully investigated and that anyonewith information be supported to come forward so that the truth canbe found. I deeply regret any statements I made that might haveinhibited that from occurring or been insensitive to victims ofabuse."

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