The fabled fourth victim of Bernie Fine's alleged sexual abuse has finally come forward.
56-year-old prison inmate Floyd VanHooser told The Post-Standard that the fired SU coach took him in as an orphan and sexually abused him for decades.
According to VanHooser, he told police about three specific incidents in 1998, 2001 and this past summer when he allegedly performed a sex act on Fine in his office in exchange for money.
VanHooser is currently serving 16 years in state prison as a "persistent violent felony offender" for a burglary spree earlier this year. He has 12 felony convictions, seven of which are considered violent felony convictions, on his record.
District Attorney William Fitpatrick told reporters last week that "there simply is no victim No. 4" in regards to claims made by VanHooser. The D.A. referred to VanHooser as "not credible," which may come back to bite Fitzy bigtime.
Meanwhile, VanHooser may have been the unidentified source that allowed the U.S. Attorney’s Office to conduct a search of Fine's office at Manley Field House (Federal prosecutors are trying to keep these documents sealed for now). Given that allegation of contact this past summer, that would fit.
VanHooser has been in and out of jail for most of this life but according to a former girlfriend, he spent most of his time as a free man associating with Bernie Fine:
Whenever VanHooser got out of prison, he called Fine and Fine got him back on his feet by having VanHooser work at Fine’s house, Clarke said. When VanHooser got out of prison in 2008, Fine got him a job working at an SU fraternity, she said.
I assume someone's going to be double-checking on that.
The kicker in all of this? While VanHooser claims to have had no idea what this investigation was about until a few days ago, his name had come up a while back. He was on the list of boys' names that spent a lot of time with Fine that Bobby Davis gave to the Post-Standard in 2002. And in many instances, court records prove that VanHooser was living with Fine for a good chunk of his childhood.
Like I've said for a while now, every time we learn some new story or fact about this whole mess, it never clears anything up. It only makes thing murkier.
Incidentally, with the outing of VanHooser, that means two of Fine's four accusers are currently in jail. Zach Tomaselli sits in a jail cell in Maine right now after violating the terms of his parole as he tries to work out a plea deal in connection with charges that he sexually abused a Maine boy. He has said he expects to serve jail time.
In the "is there any good news to come out of all this?" department, Gov. Andrew Cuomo will seek a new law to require high school and college coaches to immediately report possible child sexual abuse to law enforcement in the wake of all this.