FanDuel - WFBC

December 07, 2011

No Charges for Bernie Fine : The statute of limitations has expired for two of the accusers in the Bernie Fine molestation investigation. The U.S. Secret Service continues to investigate the most recent allegations, but have not come to any conclusions as to whether or not they intend to bring charges.

posted by Tinman to basketball at 12:02 PM - 10 comments

I'm not clear on why the Secret Service is leading the investigation. I thought they focused their criminal investigations on financial type crimes like counterfeiting and moving cash around illegally. Maybe they have a broader scope than I realized.

posted by beaverboard at 02:21 PM on December 07

The statute of limitations on sexual abuse of a child is absolutely ridiculous considering that it usually takes years for the victim to be brave enough to come forward and reveal what has happened to him or her.

posted by BornIcon at 03:23 PM on December 07

There has to be some limit on it and the flip side is something like the Fells Acre case where you could have "recovered" memories from decades later. With no way to prove or disprove the allegations, it's a killer scarlet letter that can't be unwritten.

posted by yerfatma at 03:26 PM on December 07

@beaver - The explanation I heard in one interview for the Secret Service being involved is that they are very good at tracking data back over time.

They will be reviewing all of the media that they took from his house, his hard drive, his financial records etc. They are going to try to build a record trail back to him and the remaining accuser.

I think ultimately anything they find will be handed over to another responsible agency, they just haven't said who that might be yet. I thought it was strange too. The Secret Services' edict is protecting elected officials and Treasury enforcement. I also think that this potentially muddys the chain of custody of any evidence they might collect.

posted by Tinman at 04:43 PM on December 07

There has to be some limit on it

Why does there have to be some limit? Child molestation is an evil enough crime that we can let that go. I imagine that if judges and juries were properly instructed on how to weigh the reliability of evidence, then any risk of recovered memories would be limited. And people wouldn't be free from prosecution if they scare the children long enough to keep them from telling the truth.

posted by bperk at 04:47 PM on December 07

Why does there have to be some limit? Child molestation is an evil enough crime that we can let that go.

It's true for every crime except murder. Are you suggesting it's equivalent? There are good reasons for the statute and there's wiggle room for the definition of when the timer starts.

And people wouldn't be free from prosecution if they scare the children long enough to keep them from telling the truth.

That's a separate felony they could be charged with.

The explanation I heard in one interview for the Secret Service being involved is that they are very good at tracking data back over time.

It can't be that simple; they have to have jurisdiction to be involved, don't they? I'm guessing there's some aspect of electronic communication involved. Maybe child porn?

posted by yerfatma at 08:06 PM on December 07

The Syracuse DA said that school district records undermine Zach Tomaselli's claim that he was molested in Pittsburgh on a Syracuse road trip in 2002. He was in school the day of the game. The DA has given this evidence -- and Syracuse hotel and travel records -- to Fine's defense and called it "exculpatory."

Tomaselli was never a credible accuser.

posted by rcade at 08:29 AM on December 08

Are you suggesting it's equivalent? There are good reasons for the statute and there's wiggle room for the definition of when the timer starts.

I don't know why child molestation would have to be equivalent to murder to be worthy of no statute of limitation. And, there are good reasons for a statute of limitation, but there are also plenty of good reasons why it should not be applicable to child molestation. First, children frequently take a long time to come forward. And, most importantly, pedophiles don't stop molesting children. It isn't like some 45-year old being charged for vandalism for something that happened at 18.

posted by bperk at 09:38 AM on December 08

First, children frequently take a long time to come forward.

I think it's fair for the justice system to give them some years as adults to come to terms with what happened and report it. But letting them wait until their 40s, 50s or 60s is ridiculous. By that point they've been adults longer than they were kids. At some point it becomes your responsibility as an adult to report the crime that happened to you during your childhood.

And, most importantly, pedophiles don't stop molesting children.

Which means victims should come forward as soon as they can, to prevent more children from being abused.

posted by rcade at 10:08 AM on December 08

But letting them wait until their 40s, 50s or 60s is ridiculous. By that point they've been adults longer than they were kids. At some point it becomes your responsibility as an adult to report the crime that happened to you during your childhood.

I said not one word for over 34 years, out of shame. It has only been in the past 5 years that anyone has known anything about what happened to me as a child. Only one member of my family knows anything, and I have only hinted at the situation with her.
I have been seeing a counsellor for the past 2 1/2 years. Fear is a powerful motivation to not say anything. My abuser is still alive, and yes, I do still worry about repercussions should I come forward publicly.

It's true for every crime except murder. Are you suggesting it's equivalent?

There have been times in my life where I wondered if it would have been easier not to be alive, because of the assaults. The torment I have felt, that I have carried all these years have affected me in ways I cannot even begin to count. At least if you're murdered, the pain and suffering has an end.

There is no statute of limitations on reporting child abuse in Canada. At some point, I may go to the authorities, but I'm still not ready to do that.

posted by tommytrump at 10:41 AM on December 08

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