Lewiston man files lawsuit in Pa. on alleged sex abuse by Syracuse coach

Posted Dec. 08, 2011, at 11:32 a.m.
Zach Tomaselli of Lewiston told police Wednesday in a signed statement that Syracuse University associate head basketball coach Bernie Fine invited him to an away game in Pittsburgh in January 2002 when he was 13 and molested him in a hotel there.
Michael York | AP
Zach Tomaselli of Lewiston told police Wednesday in a signed statement that Syracuse University associate head basketball coach Bernie Fine invited him to an away game in Pittsburgh in January 2002 when he was 13 and molested him in a hotel there.

PITTSBURGH — A Maine man discredited by a prosecutor has sued former Syracuse assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine, claiming the coach molested him in a hotel room after a game in Pittsburgh in 2002.

The lawsuit was filed in Allegheny County court by Zachary Tomaselli on Thursday, one day after a prosecutor in Syracuse said he had records that could disprove the allegations. Fine’s attorneys also say travel records prove that Tomaselli is lying.

The prosecutor, Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick, said he believes there is evidence that Fine molested two former Syracuse ball boys in the 1980s but likely didn’t harm Tomaselli.

Online records from Allegheny County Common Pleas Court show that Tomaselli’s lawsuit was filed Thursday morning, though a copy wasn’t immediately available. His attorney has called a Thursday morning news conference at which he says his 23-year-old client will “speak to his abuse.”

Police in Pittsburgh learned of the allegations when Tomaselli, of Lewiston, Maine, went public last month. Officers never interviewed Tomaselli, however, because they referred the allegations to the U.S. attorney’s office in Syracuse, which is investigating Fine.

Pittsburgh police Cmdr. Thomas Stangrecki said Tomaselli called city police after Stangrecki issued a news release Nov. 28 saying police were aware of his allegations against Fine.

On Anderson Cooper’s TV talk show on Nov. 30, Tomaselli said he had offered to take a lie detector test, has cooperated with investigators and that there is outside evidence to corroborate his story. He declined to describe the evidence.

Tomaselli’s father has said he believes his son is lying about the Pittsburgh encounter.

Tomaselli also is charged in Maine with molesting a teenage boy. He said earlier this week he expects to eventually plead guilty.

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