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Ex-Syracuse ball boys file defamation suit

Dec. 14, 2011 at 5:04 PM

NEW YORK, Dec. 14 (UPI) -- Two ex-Syracuse University ball boys filed a lawsuit claiming head basketball coach Jim Boeheim defamed them by saying they made up sexual molestation claims.

Boeheim had called the former ball boys, stepbrothers Bobby Davis and Michael Lang, "liars" last month and said they falsely accused assistant coach Bernie Fine of child molestation to try to get money, The Post-Standard of Syracuse reported.

Boeheim retracted the remarks two weeks later but the damage had already been done, said Gloria Allred, an attorney representing Davis and Lang.

"One of Syracuse's most-respected individuals had already told the world repeatedly that Bobby Davis and Michael Lang were nothing but liars and out for money and nothing else," Allred said.

The lawsuit -- filed against Boeheim and SU filed in New York City Tuesday, a day after the basketball team was named No. 1 in the country -- does not specify damages, which Allred said would be decided at trial.

Fine, who has denied any wrongdoing, cannot be prosecuted criminally based on the former ball boys' accusations because the statue of limitations has expired. But the Post-Standard noted evidence and testimony about their allegations and Boeheim's knowledge of Fine's relationship with the boys could be made public.

Fine's lawyers did not respond Tuesday to requests for comment on the suit, a university spokesman declined comment and Boeheim could not be reached.

Fine is not named as a defendant in the suit.

Allred, a Los Angeles attorney who has represented women in high-profile sex scandals involving former presidential candidate Herman Cain, golfer Tiger Woods and former NBA star Shaquille O'Neal, cannot appear in a New York state court without first asking a judge's permission. So the suit was filed by

New York City lawyer Mariann Meier Wang, the Post-Standard said.

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