Judge: Sex life of ex-Syracuse coach's wife irrelevant in

Reuters News
Posted: Feb 10, 2012 4:38 PM
Judge: Sex life of ex-Syracuse coach's wife irrelevant in

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Allegations that the wife of former Syracuse assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine had sex with several Syracuse basketball players are irrelevant in a slander lawsuit against head coach Jim Boeheim, a judge ruled on Friday.

Bobby Davis and his stepbrother, Mike Lang, are both former Syracuse ballboys who accuse assistant coach Bernie Fine of sexually abusing them as juveniles, allegations he has denied through his lawyers.

Fine was fired after the accusations surfaced last year but has not been charged with any crimes. Prosecutors have said they cannot bring charges because the statute of limitations on the allegations has expired.

The brothers filed a defamation lawsuit against Boeheim, a Hall of Fame coach, in December after he dismissed their allegations and called them liars, remarks he later apologized for.

Davis filed a sworn statement last month saying Bernie Fine's wife, Laurie Fine, had sexual relations with players on the basketball team over a period of several years with her husband's knowledge and apparent consent, and that it was likely Boeheim was aware of that.

Laurie Fine has denied the allegations through her lawyer.

Lawyers for David and Lang had asked Judge Anil Singh to allow them to seek the contact details of anyone who had sexual contact with Laurie and Bernie Fine, or who had complained about inappropriate relationships they may have had. Judge Singh denied that request on Friday.

"What Boeheim knew, or may have known, about the personal life of the assistant coach's wife has no bearing on whether Boeheim's public remarks in defense of the assistant coach were libelous," he wrote on Friday.

Edward Menkin, Laurie Fine's lawyer, said he was pleased with the decision. "Laurie Fine's reactions to these comments are that they are disgusting, they are irrelevant and they are untrue," he said. A spokesman for Syracuse said the university was not commenting on the case.

(Reporting By Jonathan Allen; Editing by Cynthia Johnston)