Syracuse University's prompt response to allegations of sexual abuse against an assistant basketball coach was done in good faith but was flawed because, among other things, there was no direct contact with law enforcement, a special committee of the university's board of trustees said in a report released Thursday.
Although the 52-page document states there was no attempt to ''cover up'' any conduct, it reiterates a criticism voiced by Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick that police and the district attorney should have been notified immediately so they could conduct the investigation with all the experience and tools available to law enforcement.
The committee assessed the university's response to allegations that Bernie Fine had sexually abused former ball boy Bobby Davis. It said Davis' allegations ''should have been viewed from the outset as involving serious alleged crimes.''
Davis, now 41, claims Fine molested him for years beginning when he was around 12 years old. He took the claims to university officials in September 2005.
Fine, in his 36th year on the basketball staff, was fired in November 2011 after the allegations were made public.
Fine, 66, has not been charged, and he denies the accusations.
The claims by Davis and his step-brother, Michael Lang, happened too long ago to be investigated, but the U.S. attorney's office is investigating the claims of a third man who said Fine abused him. That third accuser, 23-year-old Zach Tomaselli, of Lewiston, Maine, has since said he lied.
The abuse allegations threw into turmoil what was then the nation's top-ranked men's basketball team and seemed to threaten the career of Hall of Fame Coach Jim Boeheim, who staunchly defended his longtime assistant before softening his stance.