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Bernie Fine Allegations: Federal Authorities Mean Business

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I know this won't come as quite a shock to you but the fact that federal authorities are now in charge of the Bernie Fine scandal, you can bet that any punishment they eventually hand down will be severe.

Federal laws involving the types of crimes alleged against Fine generally carry significantly greater punishments than state laws. The federal laws also have more liberal statutes of limitations, allowing accusers more time to bring their allegations to court. And federal authorities have access to far greater resources and expertise than local prosecutors.

"You ought to be very nervous when the feds come in," Fordham Law School Professor James Cohen said. "They bring a very big gun."

In other words, don't worry so much about all the statute of limitations stuff.

Speaking of people in trouble with the law, third accuser Zach Tomaselli is trying to get a judge to suppress what his lawyer maintains was a coerced confession in his own molestation case.

Zach Tomaselli of Lewiston faces charges of sexually abusing a 13-year-old boy he met at a day camp where he was serving as a counselor. The boy is now 14. The 23-year-old Tomaselli wants a judge to prevent a videotaped interview with a detective from being used as evidence at his trial. Closing arguments on his motion were held Thursday in Superior Court, but the judge didn’t immediately rule.

Tomaselli had plead not guilty to 11 charges that included gross sexual assault, tampering with a victim, unlawful sexual contact, unlawful sexual touching and unlawful sexual contact.

As you've read by now, The Post-Standard and ESPN have defended their reasoning for sitting on an audio tape that seemed to imply that Bernie Fine was molesting children for eight years. That's still not good enough for many, including FoxSports.com's Jason Whitlock:

Let me translate [Syracuse Post-Standard executive editor Michael] Connor’s statement: There was nothing in it for The Post-Standard so The Post-Standard had no interest in handing over its information to the police. The Post-Standard investigates with the goal of landing the big scoop and winning journalism awards. It’s the police’s job to protect the community.

At least Joe Paterno expressed regret he did not do more to stop Jerry Sandusky. Can we really blame the public for losing faith in the Fourth Estate? We might be the most arrogant and delusional group on the planet.

One of the people at the center of the media storm is ESPN's Mark Schwarz. Schwarz continues to defend how ESPN has handled the story. Specifically, Schwarz responds to the allegation made by many (including me) that ESPN was merely jumping on this story in order to control their own Penn State Scandal.

"I think that is ludicrous. One story has nothing to do with another story. The fact is, the reason why this story was aired on ESPN on Nov. 17 is because someone came out from denial to corroborate a story that we had been given by one man in 2003. It did have to do with Penn State in that Penn State created this contact between two stepbrothers who have had all of three or four conversations over 11 years. That is another misconception. Jim Boeheim called [Lang] his cousin and said, 'Isn't it interesting that his cousin ...' The fact is the two are stepbrothers and not cousins, and they are not in contact with one another at all. Bobby Davis saw Mike Lang at Mike Lang's father's funeral. That was one of their only contacts in the last 10 years."

And so it goes...