Claiming that the network "destroyed her reputation," Laurie Fine, the wife of former Syracuse assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine, is suing ESPN for libel.
In a complaint filed in U.S. District Court (read the full complaint here), the attorneys for Laurie Fine say ESPN, reporter Mark Schwarz and producer Arthur Berko "spitefully destroyed Laurie Fine's reputation" during its coverage of the sexual abuse allegations against her husband late last year. The suit also claims ESPN's actions were done largely "in an attempt to capitalize financially in the tragic wake of the Penn State Abuse Scandal" centered around former Nittany Lion assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.
Last November, ESPN aired a taped phone conversation between Laurie Fine and Bobby Davis, the former Syracuse ball boy who was the first to accuse Bernie Fine of molestation. The conversation seemed to indicate that Laurie Fine was aware of her husband's sexual relationship with Davis. The network also published reports claiming Fine knew of her husband's abuse of Davis, had sex with Davis herself and had sex with members of the Syracuse basketball team.
In all, Laurie Fine claims ESPN falsely accused her of:
--Witnessing her husband sexually molest children, including Bobby Davis, but not doing anything to stop it
--Knowingly permitting the sexual molestation of children in her home.
--Telling Bobby Davis that she knew her husband was sexually molesting him.
--Having sex with Bobby Davis while he was still in high school.
--Betraying Bobby Davis' trust by not protecting him from sexual molestation.
--Having sexual relationships with Syracuse basketball players over the course of many years.
The suit asks for compensatory and punitive damages to be determined by a jury.
Laurie Fine will be holding a press conference at 11 a.m. Wednesday morning to address the lawsuit.