SYRACUSE, N.Y. – An affidavit filed in a slander suit against Syracuse University and basketball coach Jim Boeheim says the wife of fired assistant Bernie Fine had sex with players, and several people associated with the program knew about it, including Fine.
In the affidavit, Bobby Davis, a former ball boy with the men’s team, says he was present on several occasions with basketball players when he heard them speaking of having sex with Laurie Fine. Davis said players joked about it and it seemed to be an openly known fact that Laurie Fine had sex with basketball players. A lawyer for Laurie Fine said the accusations were “disgusting.”
After Davis and his step-brother, Mike Lang, accused Bernie Fine of molesting them when they were boys, Boeheim vehemently defended his longtime friend and assistant coach. He said Davis was lying to cash in on the publicity generated by a sexual abuse scandal unfolding at Penn State University. The Hall of Fame coach later backed off, saying he based his defence on loyalty and two previous claims of abuse against Fine that authorities could not substantiate.
Boeheim apologized after a third accuser came forward at the end of November and a years-old audiotape surfaced of a phone conversation between Davis and Laurie Fine that some have interpreted as Fine acknowledging Davis was abused by her husband.
In December, Davis and Lang filed a slander suit in state court. The affidavit filed Monday repeatedly makes the point that Davis believes Boeheim knew or should have known what his players were up to. He also believes Boeheim should have backed his accusations.
“He knew or purposefully chose to ignore Fine and his wife’s behaviour,” Davis said in the affidavit. “He had every reason to know that I was telling the truth, but he instead lashed out at me and called me and my brother liars.”
Lawyers for Boeheim and Syracuse University did not immediately return calls seeking comment.
The court document also says Davis spoke directly to Bernie Fine about his wife’s sexual relationships with players and that “Bernie Fine did not react in the slightest.”
Davis, who lived with the Fines for a time, said Laurie Fine would lavish certain players with attention, including doing their laundry, lending them her car and giving the player money and gifts.
A lawyer for Laurie Fine calls the accusations in the affidavit a “desperate” attempt to keep the suit alive.
“Only the news media can think that 20-year-old hearsay is newsworthy if it is salacious enough,” Edward Z. Menkin said in an email to The Associated Press. “This is both desperate and disgusting, an example of an irresponsible and unprofessional lawyer flailing about to keep a dying lawsuit in the public eye.”
The affidavit was filed Monday in New York State Supreme Court by high-profile lawyer Gloria Allred.
“If Laurie Fine was having multiple sexual relationships with basketball players, then the university must explain how this could have been taking place for years right under Coach Boeheim’s nose without his being aware of it and without the university’s doing anything about it,” Allred wrote in an email to The Associated Press.
Davis, now 40, and Lang claim they were repeatedly forcibly touched by Fine in the 1980s. Fine, who was fired Nov. 27, has not been charged and has denied any wrongdoing. His lawyer declined comment Tuesday.
Davis tried to get Syracuse police to investigate Bernie Fine in 2002 but was told the statute of limitations had expired. The same was true of any charges brought by Lang.
The U.S. attorney’s office is investigating the claims of a third man, 23-year-old Zach Tomaselli of Lewiston, Maine, who says Fine abused him in a Pittsburgh hotel room in 2002.
___ Associated Press writer Jennifer Peltz in New York City contributed to this report.