Lawyers for the men accusing Jim Boeheim and Syracuse University of defamation are defending their stance.
In court documents filed Wednesday, attorneys for Bobby Davis and Mike Lang argue the defense motion to dismiss the case should be denied. Davis and Lang are suing Boeheim and the school, claiming Boeheim knew he was lying when he called Davis and Lang liars. The statements were made shortly after Davis and Lang first publicly accused former assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine of sexual abuse.
Davis and Lang's attorney says "The defamatory statements alleged here are precise, specific, and factual - and they are provably, demonstrably false." The filing goes on to say "When two unknown former ball boys dared to come forward, albeit in quivering voices, to report that assistant coach Bernie Fine had sexually abused them as children, Coach Boeheim acted to protect Syracuse University and its prized basketball operation by lashing out at the Plaintiffs."
In his own affidavit, Bobby Davis says he was "extremely scared, embarrassed, ashamed, and fearful" to tell anyone about the abuse. He also says he didn't know how to deal with the abuse, and did not think anyone would believe him. Davis says Fine threatened him repeatedly, making it "impossible" for him to come forward.
These most recent court filings also include an affidavit from Ellen Ford, Clinical Director of Vera House, which helps victims of domestic and sexual abuse. Ford speaks out against Boeheim's claim that Davis was lying because it took so long for him to come forward. Ford says most victims "do not come forward to talk about, or seek counseling for, the abuse they suffered until many years - sometimes several decades - after the abuse occurred." She calls the phenomenon "delayed reporting." She says many children who are abused also feel as though the abuse was somehow their fault.
Boeheim's lawyers have called his comments "rhetoric and hyperbole." In the
motion to dismiss the case
, lawyers say the statements fall within Boeheim's constitutional right to express opinions.
The case will be back in State Supreme Court in Onondaga County on April 27th. Judge Brian DeJoseph will hear arguments on the motion to dismiss the case.
Fine has denied any wrongdoing. The federal investigation into the allegations is still ongoing.