PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A lawsuit was filed today in Pittsburgh over sexual abuse allegations surrounding a former assistant basketball coach at Syracuse University.
Syracuse University fired long-time assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine, 65, after the allegations surfaced.
The lawsuit was filed at 10 a.m. on behalf of 23-year-old Zach Tomaselli of Maine. He claims that at the age of 13 he was allegedly sexually abused by Fine while on a trip to Pittsburgh.
Tomaselli says it happened in 2002 when he traveled to the University of Pittsburgh-Syracuse basketball game and while he was a guest of Fine’s at a hotel.
Investigators believe Tomaselli may have credibility issues.
However, Tomaselli’s attorneys, Jeff Anderson of Minneapolis and Alan Perer of Pittsburgh, dispute the claims of a New York prosecutor and Tomaselli’s step-father who both say he is lying.
Tomaselli is facing his own child abuse charges in Maine. He read a prepared statement during a press conference today in Pittsburgh.
“I know I have done harm to a child as an adult, and for that I am deeply sorry and need to be truthful,” he said. “I also have been reading and learning how Bernie Fine has denied doing this to me and others, so I made the decision to go public after Thanksgiving because I know he was lying and I believe is dangerous and could hurt other kids.”
Tomaselli’s civil lawyers admit that there may be some discrepancies between the information they have and the information that the New York prosecutor has with regard to the Pittsburgh trip; however, they still say they are confident enough to file the lawsuit and that Tomaselli stands by his story.