- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 13, 2011

NEW YORK (AP) — Two men who say they were molested by an assistant basketball coach at Syracuse University have sued the school and men’s basketball coach Jim Boeheim for defamation.

Former Syracuse ball boys Bobby Davis and Mike Lang say they were molested by assistant coach Bernie Fine, who has since been fired and has denied the allegations. A third man also has accused the 65-year-old Fine, who had been Jim Boeheim’s top assistant since 1976.

The U.S. attorney’s office is investigating.

Attorney Gloria Allred said at a news conference Tuesday afternoon in New York that the two men filed a lawsuit Tuesday morning in New York State Supreme Court.

Davis was a ball boy for the team in the 1980s; Lang is his stepbrother.

“It really hurt me to learn coach Boeheim had accused me of lying,” Davis said.

Allred said that after repeatedly telling the world that Davis and Lang were liars, it’s time for the university and Boeheim to be held accountable.

Boeheim’s statements impugning the veracity and motivations of Mr. Davis and Mr. Lang were particularly disturbing, given his 35 years of opportunity to observe Fine at close quarters, and at least seven years of opportunity to see Fine with Bobby Davis on trips, at practices, in Manley Fieldhouse and at games,” Allred said.

Syracuse University did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

When the news broke Nov. 17, Boeheim staunchly, even defiantly, supported his old friend and said the accusations were lies to capitalize on the Penn State child-sex-abuse case and make money off a lawsuit.

“The Penn State thing came out, and the kid behind this is trying to get money,” Boeheim told the Syracuse Post-Standard on Nov. 17. “If he gets this, he’s going to sue the university and Bernie. What do you think is going to happen at Penn State? You know how much money is going to be involved in civil suits? I’d say about $50 million. That’s what this is about. Money.”

Lang said that when Boeheim suggested “my little brother and I were lying,” he “felt sick to my stomach.”

Victim advocates reacted angrily to Boeheim’s initial comments and called for him to resign or be fired. He later backtracked and said he was wrong to question the motives of the accusers.

That’s not enough, said Allred, whose recent clients include a woman who accused presidential candidate Herman Cain of making unwelcome sexual advances.

“Although Boeheim eventually acknowledged that he ‘misspoke,’ those words came too little too late,” Allred said. “One of Syracuse’s most respected individuals had already told the world repeatedly that Bobby Davis and Mike Lang were nothing but liars and out for money and nothing else.

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