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Davis/Lang Lawsuit Against Syracuse University, Jim Boeheim

Davis/Lang Lawsuit Against Syracuse University, Jim Boeheim

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Published by The Post-Standard
Lawsuit filed by Bernie Fine accusers Bobby Davis and Michael Lang against Syracuse University and head basketball coach Jim Boeheim.
Lawsuit filed by Bernie Fine accusers Bobby Davis and Michael Lang against Syracuse University and head basketball coach Jim Boeheim.

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Published by: The Post-Standard on Dec 13, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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For thirty-five years, Head Coach James (“Jim”) Boeheim has builtand run the program. As the architect of Syracuse’s extremely successful and popular  basketball program, Boeheim wields enormous influence and power on the SyracuseUniversity campus and in the City as a whole. For nearly all of Boeheim’s thirty-five-year career at Syracuse, he has had his friend and colleague, Bernie Fine—whomBoeheim has known for half a century since they attended Syracuse Universitytogether—serving as his principal deputy, most recently as associate head basketballcoach. Fine particularly supported the program in recruiting star players, a key factor inthe program’s overall success.3.
Plaintiffs Robert (“Bobby”) Davis and Michael (“Mike”) Langsuffered years of sexual molestation at the hands of Bernie Fine. Fine used his positionwithin the Syracuse University basketball program as a means of luring Bobby and Mikewhen they were just boys, making both of them team “ball boys,” allowing them covetedspots to assist the team and attend games. The sexual abuse occurred in Fine’s office atManley Field House, a short distance from (and for years, next door to) Boeheim’s office;it occurred on team trips to other cities for away games, including when the teamattended and participated in the Final Four; it occurred at a fraternity house on campuswhere Fine was a Supervisor; and it occurred in Fine’s car and in his home.4.
For years, Bobby Davis tried to report Fine’s behavior. BobbyDavis ironically felt enormous guilt for not doing more to stop Fine from having anyfuture opportunity to abuse other young victims—even as so many adults around BobbyDavis as a child never did anything to stop Fine or ask why Fine needed to stay withDavis in the same hotel room, at times with just one bed, on team travels. Bobby Davis
3tried to get law enforcement to stop Fine by calling the Syracuse police in 2002; he triedto get Syracuse University to stop Fine by emailing Chancellor Nancy Cantor and tellingher about the sexual molestation in 2005; he tried to get others to stop Fine by informinga local Syracuse newspaper; and he tried to get ESPN to publicize Fine’s abuse.Although the University claimed to have undertaken an investigation in 2005, theinvestigation was conducted by a law firm that had a clear interest in ensuring theUniversity’s spotless reputation and it quickly concluded that the allegations wereunfounded. Fine remained employed by the University from 2005 until very recently.5.
Finally, in part as a result of the recent disclosures concerning thesex abuse scandal at Penn State, ESPN did at last run the reports of Bobby Davis andMike Lang on November 17, 2011. The response from the University, by and throughJim Boeheim, was swift and certain. Despite having observed his friend Bernie Fine for thirty-five years, including at least seven years in which Boeheim had seen Bobby Davisaccompanying Fine to practices, games and travelling with Fine, including staying in thesame hotel room, Boeheim stated to national news media that Bobby Davis and MikeLang were lying and just seeking a payday.
Those public, official statements were not just false anddefamatory: the statements epitomize the epic, years-long failure by Boeheim and theUniversity to take even basic, simple steps to ensure that boys and teens–who themselvesdedicated countless hours of unpaid work to assist the team that Boeheim led–would not be abused and victimized by a man whose power and influence flowed directly from the basketball program. The statements reflect the University’s and Jim Boeheim’s totaldisregard for the enormous pain and humiliation that Bobby Davis and Mike Lang suffer,

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