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Bernie Fine Accuser Zach Tomaselli to Plead Guilty to Child Sex Abuse Charges

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By Allison Summers, Christian Post Reporter
December 6, 2011|5:02 pm

One of the three men accusing former Syracuse University basketball coach Bernie Fine of molestation plans to plead guilty to his own charges of child sex abuse.

Zach Tomaselli, 23, of Lewston, Maine recently admitted to sexually abusing a young boy when he was 13 and 14 years old. Tomaselli knew his victim well, as his brother was a close friend and the victim had attended a camp where Tomaselli worked as a counselor.

Although he initially pleaded not guilty to 11 charges, including gross sexual assault and unlawful sexual contact, Tomaselli told Reuters that he'll plead guilty when he appears in Superior Court in exchange for a plea bargain.

"I just wanted to come forward and get this off my chest," he said. "I'm really tired of hiding behind lawyers."

He also said he decided to come forward because of the anguish he knows his crimes will probably cause the boy for the rest of his life.

Though he will have to register as a sex offender for life, he could serve three years or less in prison.

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Tomeselli alleges that Fine first sexually abused him in a Pittsburgh hotel room when he was 13 years old and attending a 2002 Syracuse basketball game. Tomaselli initially met Fine with his father in 2001 during an autograph session at the university's campus, and Fine later invited him to travel to Pittsburgh with the team and attend the game. Tomaselli said Fine fondled him and forced him to watch pornographic material in the hotel room that the two were booked to share.

Tomaselli has also alleged that his father molested him for several years, and that he has decided to come clean about his own wrongdoings because he can't expect the same of neither Fine nor his father if he doesn't.

Tomaselli's father said his son is lying, saying that he never met the coach and never traveled to Pittsburgh with him.

"I can't expect Bernie and my father to come forward to admit things if I can't admit things," he said.

The allegations of child sex abuse against the former Syracuse basketball coach came just weeks after the Penn State child abuse scandal broke, with the university's former football coach, Jerry Sandusky, at the forefront. Other school administrators, such as revered football legend Joe Paterno, lost their jobs after it was revealed that they had heard about the allegations but didn't do enough to stop Sandusky.

 

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