Fine Allegations

Bernie Fine files defamation lawsuit against ESPN

Former Syracuse University associate men’s basketball coach Bernie Fine has filed a defamation lawsuit against ESPN for reporting sex abuse claims against him.

Fine will sue for defamation and is seeking undefined damages, according to a March 28 Associated Press article. A “summons with notice” was filed in Onondaga County’s state Supreme Court on Nov. 15, 2012, according to the article.

ESPN Director of Communications David Scott said the network stands by its reporting and does not comment on pending litigation.

Fine was fired from SU on Nov. 27, 2011, after he was accused of sexually assaulting two former ball boys, Bobby Davis and Mike Lang. ESPN first reported the allegations against Fine on Nov. 17, 2011.

After a yearlong investigation, the U.S. Attorney’s office declined to charge Fine because of insufficient evidence. Fine has denied all charges.

Fine’s wife, Laurie Fine, filed a libel lawsuit against ESPN last May, accusing the network and its reporters, Mark Schwarz and Arty Berko, of defaming her in their reporting of the sexual abuse allegations against her husband.

In February, a federal judge dismissed one of the six counts in Laurie Fine’s lawsuit because they were “fair and true reports” of a judicial proceeding. The lawsuit is still ongoing.

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