One of 4 of Syracuse Coach accusers now says his allegation false

Story highlights

  • Fourth man to accuse Bernie Fine of molestation recants, newspaper reports
  • CNN had not previously reported Floyd VanHooser's allegations
  • VanHooser says he made up abuse allegations to get back at Fine
  • Three other men have accused the former Syracuse assistant basketball coach of abuse
One of four men to accuse former Syracuse assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine of molesting them as children has recanted, a New York newspaper reported Monday.
Prison inmate Floyd "David" VanHooser admitted making up the abuse allegations as retribution against Fine for not hiring an attorney to represent him in a criminal case, according to the Syracuse Post-Standard.
CNN has not previously reported VanHooser's allegations because sources close to the investigation told the network they did not believe his accounts to be credible.
The newspaper published letters VanHooser wrote in November recanting abuse allegations he made in interviews with detectives investigating claims of molestation involving Fine.
"In a statement I gave I told a lot of lies about Bernie Fine," VanHooser reportedly wrote in letters, which are dated November 29. "None of what I said was true."
In prison interviews with Syracuse police and reporters as late as December 20, VanHooser claimed Fine had molested him beginning around the round the age of 14 or 15, according to the Post-Standard.
VanHooser made the claims after three other men came forward to accuse Fine of abuse. Those accusers have not recanted.
Syracuse fired Fine in November, after the third man came forward and ESPN and the Post-Standard released details of a 10-year-old tape that appeared to show Fine's wife, Laurie Fine, knew about her husband's alleged sexual abuse.
Fine, who has not been charged with a crime, has maintained his innocence, saying shortly after the allegations surfaced that they were "patently false in every aspect." He has not commented since.
In an interview with the newspaper on Friday, VanHooser offered that he was being truthful when he told Syracuse police that he had had a sexual relationship with Fine as an adult.
But he withdrew claims that he had been molested by Fine, whom the Post-Standard said largely raised VanHooser after his parents died.
Fine's attorney, Donald Martin, did not immediately return a telephone message seeking comment.
In the letter published by the newspaper, VanHooser said he was sorry.
"Bernie has been nothing but good to me over the years. He was the only thing I had close to a father. He never did any thing wrong he is a good man," VanHooser said in the letter.
The newspaper quoted VanHooser as saying that he never offered specifics of any alleged abuse when speaking with detectives.
"They suggested things and I went along with it," the newspaper quoted VanHooser as saying.
He said he wanted to get back at Fine for not hiring an attorney to represent him in a criminal case.
A woman who answered the phone at the Syracuse Police Department's public information line said no one was available to comment on the Post-Standard story Monday because of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.
VanHooser is serving a prison sentence for burglary convictions following a parole violation, according to New York State Department of Corrections records.
Former Syracuse ball boys Bobby Davis and his stepbrother, Mike Lang, were the first to step forward publicly with allegations against Fine. Another man, Zachary Tomaselli, made similar allegations a few weeks later.
Police in Syracuse and Pittsburgh are investigating the allegations and looking for other potential victims, authorities said last month.