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No Syracuse abuse announcement until probe complete: mayor

(Reuters) - Police will not release details of an investigation into allegations of inappropriate behavior by an assistant Syracuse University basketball coach with a ball boy until it is complete, the Syracuse mayor said on Monday.

Associate head basketball coach Bernie Fine, in his 35th season with Syracuse, was placed on leave last week after new information was given to police and an investigation was reopened.

Fine has declared his innocence and he was cleared in a university investigation in 2005.

"The Syracuse Police Department will not be releasing information about the investigation to the media or any other entity in a piecemeal fashion," Syracuse mayor Stephanie Miner said in a statement.

"Any comments about the specifics of the investigation while it is ongoing would be premature and irresponsible," she said.

Miner said she directed the police chief to allocate as much time and as many resources as needed to carry out a thorough review from 2002 to the present.

Syracuse is the third major U.S. university to disclose an incident involving alleged abuse since the announcement on November 5 that a longtime assistant football coach at Penn State was charged with sexually abusing eight boys over nearly 15 years.

Since then, South Carolina military college The Citadel admitted that it had failed to take any action against a student accused of inappropriate behavior with children at a summer camp. The man has since been arrested and charged with sexually abusing boys.

The alleged behavior by Fine took place in the 1980s and 1990s when the victim was a juvenile. The accuser has been identified as Bobby Davis, now 39, a former ball boy with the team.

Syracuse police reopened an investigation into Fine when a second accuser, Davis's stepbrother, came forward.

Fine has said the allegations are "patently false in every aspect," and that he has cooperated with all past inquiries.

The new investigation comes six years after the university conducted its own probe after hearing of the allegations in 2005. After a four-month investigation, launched after local police declined to open their own probe, the university was unable to corroborate the claims.

Fine's longtime boss, Hall of Fame coach Jim Boeheim, has coached Syracuse for 34 years, including a national championship in 2003.

Boeheim previously issued a statement supporting Fine.

"I have known Bernie Fine for more than 40 years. I have never seen or witnessed anything to suggest that he would (have) been involved in any of the activities alleged," part of the statement said.

(Reporting by Lauren Keiper; Editing by Greg McCune)

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