Laurie Fine sues ESPN for libel

Updated: May 22, 2012, 4:46 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- The wife of fired Syracuse University assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine filed a lawsuit Monday against ESPN, saying she was libeled during the network's reporting of child sex abuse allegations against her husband.

Laurie Fine filed the libel suit Monday in U.S. District Court in Syracuse.

She says the allegations' attention has forced her to live in seclusion for the past six months and give up charity work she enjoyed.

Two former ball boys -- Bobby Davis and Mike Lang -- have accused Bernie Fine of molesting them during a period of more than 10 years, allegations first reported by ESPN's "Outside The Lines" in November 2011.

Syracuse police and federal authorities have been investigating the allegations, but no charges have been filed. Bernie Fine, who was fired Nov. 27 by Syracuse, has denied the allegations.

The lawsuit alleges ESPN falsely portrayed Laurie Fine as having knowledge of abuse of Davis by her husband, and that ESPN doctored a recording of a conversation between Davis and Laurie Fine.

In the 48-page suit, Laurie Fine says the network was motivated by the unfolding child sex abuse scandal at Penn State University involving former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.

In a statement, an ESPN spokesman said: "The suit is without merit and we stand by our reporting."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

ALSO SEE