Davis and Lang sue university, Boeheim

Jim Boeheim and Syracuse University have been sued for defamation in the New York Supreme Court regarding their treatment of allegations by Bobby Davis and Mike Lang against former associate head coach Bernie Fine.

Gloria Allred, a longtime civil rights attorney, announced Tuesday that she has filed a defamation suit against Syracuse University and men's basketball head coach Jim Boeheim on behalf of former ball boys Bobby Davis and his step-brother Mike Lang in New York State Supreme Court.

Davis and Lang have accused former assistant coach Bernie Fine of molesting them. After their allegations went public, Boeheim released a statement defending his friend and assistant, saying, "That's what this [the allegations] is about. Money."

In a press conference at the the New York Times Square Renaissance Hotel, Allred announced she is seeking compensatory and punitive damages from the university and Boeheim on behalf of the alleged victims. See the statements from the press conference here.

According to Allred, Boeheim's status as a public representative of the university extends the defamation beyond the coach himself. She also made reference to Chancellor Nancy Cantor's email sent Nov. 18 in which she cautioned against a rush to judgment against Fine.

Allred also criticized the school's 2005 investigation, wherein she stated that Davis was interviewed by an individual who was not entirely identified, but asked him questions in an "obviously skeptical tone." The investigation by Bond, Schoeneck, & King, the school's regular legal consultants, was described an "impartial investigation" by Allred.

In the official complaint to the New York State Supreme Court, obtained by The NewsHouse, the 2005 investigation was said to be "conducted by a law firm that had a clear interest in ensuring the university's spotless reputation." Allred supported these claims in her press conference by noting that the Board of Trustees and the District Attorney were never contacted by the university at the time.

As a secondary aim, Allred said she hopes to amend New York State law regarding the statute of limitations in sexual abuse cases such as the ones alleged by Davis and Lang. When concluding her statement, Allred said that "change is what they seek the most."

Conistent with her firm's policy, Allred would not specify how much her legal team would be seeking in damages.

After Allred spoke, Davis and Lang each read statements of their own. Davis explained that Boeheim's initial dismissal of his claims was the the fulfillment of a longtime fear. Lang said Boeheim's response made him "sick to [his] stomach."

When asked about Boeheim's recent public apology and his work with the McMahon/Ryan Child Advocacy Center, Allred said, "I haven't heard it as an apology."

Allred has requested to proceed with the suit, representing Davis and Lang with Marianne Wang pro hac vice. This would allow Allred to go forward with the suit in New York, where she is not licensed to practice.

The suit has officially been filed as Bobby Davis and Michael Lang v. James Boeheim and Syracuse University.

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