Secret Service and U.S. Attorney join probe into sex abuse allegations against ex-Syracuse basketball coach Bernie Fine

In this Nov. 14, 2011, photo, Syracuse basketball assistant coach Bernie Fine watches a college basketball game against Manhattan in the NIT Season Tip-Off in Syracuse, N.Y.
AP Photo/Kevin Rivoli, File
Bernie Fine
Former Syracuse assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine
AP Photo/Kevin Rivoli, File

The U.S. Attorney in upstate New York and the U.S. Secret Service are now involved in the investigation into former Syracuse University assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine.

The step indicates that the sex abuse allegations have raised issues that federal laws have been violated, possibly concerning the bringing of children across state lines with the intention to commit a crime. The Syracuse police department and Onondaga District Attorney's office are also involved in the probe.

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The U.S. Secret Service is lending its electronic and forensic computer expertise to the investigation. The federal agency is also routinely tapped for investigations into missing and exploited children.

Agents from the Secret Service assisted the U.S. Attorney's office in the execution of a federal search warrant on Bernie Fine's house last Friday removing among other items, three metal file cabinets marked as "evidence."

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In order to execute a search warrant, a sworn affidavit of fact is needed to demonstrate to the court that probable cause exists that a crime was committed on that premises.

A federal source told CBS News "this investigation is evolving so quickly."

The Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick issued a subpoena for records from the 2002 Syracuse police department investigation into Fine. But after the police department balked at releasing the files to them, the DA went to court to compel the department to turn over the documents.

At a court proceeding in New York Supreme Court, the Syracuse mayor told the court that the police department is doing a thorough investigation and will not turn over records in a "piecemeal" fashion. A follow up hearing on the dispute is scheduled for Wednesday.

  • Pat Milton

    Pat Milton is a CBS News investigative producer