Ex-ball boys' defamation lawsuit against Syracuse basketball coach Jim Boeheim is settled



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ALBANY, New York — A defamation lawsuit filed by two former Syracuse University ball boys against basketball head coach Jim Boeheim has been settled, the school and lawyers for the men said Thursday.

The terms of the agreement weren't released, but a joint statement from Boeheim and the university said the coach "regrets" saying Bobby Davis and Mike Lang were lying about being sexually abused as children by longtime assistant coach Bernie Fine.

Fine denied the allegations and never faced criminal charges. He was put on leave and later fired by Syracuse.

In a state lawsuit, Davis and Lang claimed Boeheim slandered them in 2011 by calling them liars out for money by exploiting the Penn State sex abuse scandal when they accused Fine of molesting them.

The case had been dismissed but was reinstated in October by the state's top court, which ruled it couldn't "conclude Boeheim's statements were "pure opinion" and that there's "a reasonable view" that Davis and Lang would be entitled to recover damages for defamation.

"Coach Boeheim regrets that he made those statements and that he questioned the integrity of Bobby Davis and Michael Lang," according to Thursday's statement. "Since then, he has publicly committed to focus his charitable efforts on providing assistance to victims of sexual abuse, which he continues to do."

In a statement released by their lawyers, Davis and Lang said they are glad the case has been settled.

"We have always sought above all to ensure that those who suffer the kind of childhood sexual abuse that we did, feel unafraid to report it and to speak about it," they said.

They were represented by Gloria Allred and Mariann Wang.


Follow George M. Walsh on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/gmwalshAP

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