Denied a chance to hear their charges aired in a criminal case, two accusers of Syracuse University associate basketball coach Bernie Fine are filing for a civil lawsuit. Former SU ball boys Bobby Davis and Michael Lang both claimed to have been abused by Fine back in the 1980s. Bill Carey has more.
NEW YORK CITY, N.Y. -- It was the first appearance by Bernie Fine's accusers since their story became public in mid-November. Attorney Gloria Allred telling reporters they were headed to court.
“Both men have suffered profoundly from Fine's extended and violent abuse,” Allred said.
While the so-called third accuser, Zach Tomaselli, has targeted Bernie Fine in his legal action, this new lawsuit claims Syracuse University itself has liability in the case. And, in particular, basketball coach Jim Boeheim , who, in the days following the initial accusations, referred to Bobby Davis and Michael Lang as liars, who were out for money.
“I’ve said everything that I needed to say and probably more than most people would like me to say,” Boeheim said on November 19th.
“It really hurt me to learn that coach Jim Boeheim accused me of lying. For a long time, this was my worst fear. That if I did speak up against this person, that no one would ever believe me because of who Bernie was and how he was perceived in the public as great person who did so much for kids,” accuser Bobby Davis said.
While Boeheim has since apologized for his comments, Allred says he still must answer for years of ignoring "red flags" in Bernie Fine's behavior.
Allred said, “Boeheim had hundreds, if not thousands, of opportunities to observe Fine's relationship with boys, including by observing his interest in ball boys. And had countless opportunities to observe Fine with Bobby Davis.”
The lawsuit also alleges that on one occasion, when Mr. Davis was 15-years-old, Boeheim saw Bobby Davis lying on the bed in Fine's hotel room in his shorts.
As for Syracuse University, Allred joined other critics saying a 2005 internal investigation of the Fine case was totally inadequate. Even more telling, she says, was SU's lack of action after Boeheim's initial attacks on Davis and Lang.
“Syracuse continues to employ Boeheim and has not even publicly admonished him for his untrue statements,” Allred said.
Jim Boeheim and the University are not commenting on the lawsuit.
A federal criminal investigation continues in Syracuse in the Bernie Fine case. There have been no charges lodged, as of yet, against the former associated basketball coach at SU.
Full press conference
CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Davis and Lang sue Syracuse, Boeheim for defamation
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