Accuser of ex-Syracuse coach gets prison for child abuse

Reuters News
Posted: Apr 11, 2012 3:33 PM
Accuser of ex-Syracuse coach gets prison for child abuse

(Reuters) - A man who accused former Syracuse University basketball coach Bernie Fine of molesting him was ordered to prison for more than three years on Wednesday for child abuse in Maine.

Zach Tomaselli, 23, was sentenced to 12 years with all but three years and three months suspended, said the clerk for Judge Robert Clifford in Androscoggin County Superior Court in Auburn, Maine. The sentence called for six years of probation and other conditions.

As the result of a plea bargain, Tomaselli of Lewiston, Maine, pleaded guilty in December to gross sexual conduct, unlawful sexual contact and visual sexual aggression.

He admitted molesting a 13-year-old boy at a Maine camp where he worked as a counselor.

Tomaselli is one of three men who say they were molested as children by Fine, who as a result of the scandal was fired as a former long-time assistant coach to Syracuse Hall of Fame basketball coach Jim Boeheim.

Fine, who has not been charged with any crime, denies the allegations. Tomaselli's father, also accused by his son of molestation, has said his son is lying.

Tomaselli's accusation that he was molested on a basketball team trip to Pittsburgh in 2002 triggered a federal investigation of Fine.

Authorities said claims by the other two accusers, former ball boys Bobby Davis and Michael Lange, that they were abused in the 1980s were considered too old to be investigated under state statutes of limitations.

(Reporting by Barbara Goldberg; Editing by Paul Thomasch and Bill Trott)