There is no doubt that the accusations of Boston sex crimes can ruin a person’s life.
Massachusetts defense attorneys know that the potential is there to completely tarnish a person’s reputation, future employment prospects, living arrangements and personal relationships.
Of course, we also know that a great deal of the allegations aren’t true, or are some exaggeration of the truth. We may see a lot of this in cases where multiple plaintiffs come forward in the wake of a high-profile case.
This is what’s happened in the case of Bernie Fine, an ex-assistant coach at Syracuse University. Once having four allegations of sexual misconduct lodged against him, each and every single one has failed to stand up to the credibility test – including the most recent allegation, in which the accuser flat-out admitted he lied.
Fine was fired in November, in the wake of the allegations.
It seems one can hardly turn around without word of some new sex abuse allegation being lobbed at educators and coaches around the country. The case against former Penn State Coach Jerry Sandusky is one. Then there are the host of allegations that continue to be filed against coaches and teachers in California.
Some of the reasons have to do with the very nature of the job in working closely with children on a one-on-one basis. It leaves employees in these positions susceptible to false allegations – particularly those made years after the fact – because you’re left with a he-said-she-said scenario. Plus, children and youth may not understand the full scope of consequences of their false accusations. And accusers may believe there will be some form of eventual pay-out if the coach or teacher is high-profile — and they figure the odds are better if there is more than one accuser.
A skilled defense attorney who is aggressive in getting to the bottom of these accusations may be able to confront the accuser with a greater weight of evidence favorable to the defendant. Sometimes, this results in a full recanting of the original allegation.
This is what happened in the Bernie Fine case.
A 23-year-old man from Lewiston, Maine is currently preparing to serve more than three years in a Massachusetts prison on allegations that he sexually abused a teenaged boy. The defendant in that case is one of the four who accused Fine of sexual assault.
The defendant said that when he was 13-years-old, Fine fondled him in a Pittsburgh hotel room, and that he and the assistant coach had watched pornography together. He filed a civil lawsuit in December, but his attorney withdrew it several weeks later.
He now says that not only were the allegations untrue, but he had never actually met Fine, and that he “takes pride in lying.”
Then there was the accusation that came from another prison inmate who made allegations against Fine. Those reports were never published because media outlets deemed them not credible from the start.
Two other accusers, former ball boys for the Syracuse team, said they too were molested by Fine for a number of years. However, the statute of limitations on those allegations has expired.