The wife of former Syracuse assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine has launched a libel lawsuit against ESPN for its reporting of the child sex abuse allegations leveled at her husband, The Post-Standard reported Wednesday.
The suit claims the network, reporter Mark Schwarz and producer Arty Berko "spitefully destroyed Laurie Fine’s reputation in an attempt to capitalize financially in the wake of the Penn State sex abuse scandal."
Laurie Fine claims the network published defamatory information, including that she created "a space in which children could be sexually molested in secret," and that she was fully aware her husband was molesting children and did nothing to stop it.
Fine has scheduled a news conference Wednesday to publicly announce the lawsuit.
ESPN reported in November that two former Syracuse ball boys had alleged Bernie Fine sexually abused them during the 1980s. The report came within weeks of the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal at Penn State.
Though the claims of molestation by Bobby Davis and his stepbrother Mike Lang were deemed credible by a New York state district attorney, Fine was not prosecuted due to the statute of limitations.
Bernie Fine, who has denied any wrongdoing, was fired in the aftermath of the accusations.
Davis, 40, reportedly first approached ESPN in 2003 with the abuse allegations, but it was not until after he presented the network with a recorded phone conversation with Laurie Fine in the wake of the Sandusky scandal that the network decided to air the report.
Excerpts of the call used by ESPN not only revealed Fine failing to deny Davis’ claims that her husband abused him, but also implied she was having sex with Davis as well.
Laurie Fine’s lawsuit claims the network took her comments out of context to cast her in a false light, according to The Post-Standard.