Bobby Davis, Michael Lang sue Cuse

Updated: December 14, 2011, 1:32 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Two men who say they were sexually abused by a former assistant basketball coach at Syracuse University have sued the school and head basketball coach Jim Boeheim for defamation.

Bobby Davis and Mike Lang accused ex-Syracuse associate head basketball coach Bernie Fine of molesting them during the 1980s and '90s. They made the accusations in interviews with "Outside The Lines" in November.

When the first "OTL" story was broadcast and published, Boeheim called the accusers "liars" who were looking for money.

"You know how much money is going to be involved in civil suits?" Boeheim said. "I'd say about $50 million. That's what this is about. Money."

Attorney Gloria Allred said at a news conference Tuesday afternoon in New York City that the two men have filed a lawsuit in New York State Supreme Court. Davis previously maintained that he is not looking to sue Fine.

Allred said after repeatedly telling the world that Davis and Lang were liars, it's time for the university and Boeheim to be held accountable.

"It really hurt me to learn coach Boeheim had accused me of lying," Davis said.

Victim advocates reacted angrily and called for Boeheim to resign or be fired when he questioned the motives of Fine's accusers. He later apologized, saying he "misspoke very badly" in questioning the accusers' motives and and regretted any harm he had caused.

That's not enough, said Allred, whose recent clients include a woman who accused presidential candidate Herman Cain of making unwelcome sexual advances.

"Those words came too little, too late," she said during Tuesday' news conference.

Boeheim declined to comment on the lawsuit Wednesday, ESPN.com's Andy Katz reported.

Davis was a ball boy for the team in the 1980s. Lang is his stepbrother. Fine since has been fired.

Lang said that when Boeheim suggested "my little brother and I were lying," he "felt sick to my stomach."

Lang appeared on CNN's Piers Morgan on Tuesday night and said he thinks Boeheim should keep his job.

"That's not for me to say," Lang said when asked if Boeheim should be retained. "I certainly hope not, but he did a lot of damage by calling us liars without knowing the facts."

The U.S. attorney's office is investigating the case in Syracuse.

Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick said last week that Davis was credible, but that he couldn't investigate under state law because the statute of limitations had expired.

Fine has denied the allegations. The U.S. attorney's office is investigating.

Zach Tomaselli, a third man who has accused Fine of molestation, said Tuesday that he expects to go to prison for sexually abusing a boy in Maine. He wrote on Facebook that he's looking to "find strength to get through this" as plea negotiations continue.

He's already admitted that most of the accusations are true and says he takes responsibility for "the hell I put this teen through."

Adding to his legal problems is his arrest Tuesday for violating bail conditions. Tomaselli, 23, was arrested by Lewiston, Maine, police Tuesday because he gave a ride to someone under 18.

The arrest was made a day after police received a tip, Sgt. David St. Pierre said.

Tomaselli, who lives with his grandmother in Lewiston, is being held without bail.

On Wednesday, federal prosecutors say disclosure of information used to obtain search warrants for Fine's home and office would jeopardize their ongoing investigation "into the sensitive area of child abuse and molestation."

Prosecutors said in a letter to a judge Wednesday that disclosure would lay bare their investigative steps while potentially embarrassing witnesses and endangering the safety of at least one of their sources.

Unsealed records show investigators were looking for pornography that could be used "to sexually arouse or groom young males" and records detailing Fine's contact with boys.

Fine's lawyers have said they wouldn't oppose unsealing the warrant application.

Information from The Associated Press is included in this report.

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