Fine accusers file defamation lawsuit against Boeheim and SU
Tue, 13 Dec 2011 19:55:02 GMT —
Two men who say they were sexually abused by an assistant basketball coach at Syracuse University are suing Jim Boeheim and Syracuse University for defamation.
Bobby Davis and Mike Lang say they were molested by assistant coach Bernie Fine when they were children. He has denied the allegations.
Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick said last week he believes Davis and Lang were abused . His office cannot prosecute Fine because the statute of limitations has run out.
Davis and Lang appeared with their lawyer at a news conference in New York City at 2 p.m. Tuesday afternoon. They explained why they feel it's necessary to file a lawsuit at this time.
The two men have hired high-profile attorney Gloria Allred to handle their case. One of her recent clients includes a woman who accused presidential candidate Herman Cain of making unwelcome sexual advances.
Allred explained that Jim Boeheim, basketball head coach of Syracuse University, had seen Fine with Davis countless times. Allred stated that, at no time has Bobby Davis or Mike Lang asked for money in return for their statements.
Allred said that Boeheim TMs comments calling Davis and Lang liars, are particularly disturbing after his countless opportunities to see Fine with Davis over the years.
Although Boeheim came out and apologized for his statements, Allred says that it is not enough; serious damage has already been done.
Allred said, as a result of Boeheim TMs false statements about them, Bobby and Mike now find it necessary to file a defamation lawsuit.
They are seeking special compensatory and punitive damages according to proof at trial, said Allred.
In a statement, Davis says he is filing the lawsuit because he doesn't want other victims to be afraid. He says Boeheim has "seriously hurt" his reputation but wants "people to know the truth."
Through Allred, Davis and Lang say that they believe the inactions of Boeheim and Syracuse University put children at risk.
Bobby Davis spoke at the news conference. He said that the reason he didn TMt go public sooner, was that he would be called a liar.
Davis said, "it really hurt me to learn coach Boeheim had accused me of lying."
Davis said he wants to help children to have the courage to speak up and tell an adult if they are being abused.
Mike Lang also spoke, saying that he too hopes that their actions help other children.
Lang said that, when Boeheim suggested "my little brother and I were lying" he "felt sick to my stomach." Lang added, "coming forward is one of the hardest things I've had to do in my life."
"Boeheim has not suffered any consequences in his employment for using his position of power within the university to make these false, inflammatory, statements about Davis and Lang, said Allred. Syracuse continues to employ Boeheim and has not even publically admonished him for his untrue statements.
Allred would not say whether she thinks Boeheim should be fired from Syracuse University, only that it will be up to the University to decide.
Syracuse University is included in this lawsuit based on its status as Boeheim TMs employer. The university declined making a comment when we contacted them.
Allred says that they were encouraged by the comments made by Onondaga County District Attorney last week when he stated he believes in the credibility of Davis and Lang.
Syracuse University chancellor Nancy Cantor has previously said the university did the best it could with its internal 2005 investigation .
Davis was a ball boy for the team in the 1980's. Lang is his stepbrother. Fine has since been fired and federal searches have been conducted in his home, office, and locker.
Last week, a third accuser, 23-year-old Zach Tomaselli, filed a lawsuit against Fine . Tomaselli, 23, has accused Fine of sexually abusing him when Tomaselli was 13 years old.
The U.S. Attorney's office is now investigating the case.
For full coverage of the Bernie Fine case, click here .
Read the lawsuit filed on behalf of Davis and Lang here (PDF).
Read statements by Allred, Davis, and Lang here (PDF).
Information from the Associated Press was used in this article.