Alleged sex abuse victims to sue Syracuse University: lawyer

Reuters News
Posted: Dec 13, 2011 10:48 AM
Alleged sex abuse victims to sue Syracuse University: lawyer

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Two men who accused former Syracuse University basketball coach Bernie Fine of sexually abusing them as children were set to announce a lawsuit against the New York institution, their lawyer said on Tuesday.

Former ball boys Bobby Davis, 39, and his stepbrother Mike Lang, 45, have said Fine sexually abused them. Davis said the abuse happened "hundreds of times" until he was 27, while Lang alleged it occurred "numerous times" until he turned 19.

Fine, 65, has denied the allegations.

Celebrity lawyer Gloria Allred said in a statement that Davis and Lang would hold a news conference later on Tuesday in New York to announce the filing of a lawsuit against Syracuse University and "explain why they feel it is necessary."

Prosecutors have said there is no way to charge Fine over the allegations because both federal and state statutes of limitation have expired.

State law requires victims to come forward within five years of their 18th birthday. Current federal law has no time limits for prosecuting sex abuse crimes so long as the victim is still alive, but that rule did not exist in the 1980s when the alleged abuse by Fine took place.

Prosecutors said that Davis had tried to report his accusations in 2002 to Syracuse police and have criticized the police department's response. The Syracuse police chief at the time was a former Syracuse basketball player.

In 2005, Davis notified the university of the alleged abuse and Syracuse conducted an internal investigation, which a local prosecutor has said was inadequate. The university took no action at the time.

Fine was fired last month after ESPN aired a tape of his wife, Laurie, speaking on the telephone with alleged victim Davis, in which she appears to confirm she knew about her husband's purported inappropriate behavior.

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Greg McCune)