PITTSBURGH – The alleged third sexual abuse victim of former Syracuse assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine has filed a civil suit against him on Thursday.
Zachary Tomaselli, 23, of Maine went public earlier this month and held a news conference with his attorneys on Thursday in Pittsburgh where the incident allegedly took place after filing the complaint and is seeking over $25,000 in damages.
“I am taking this action to support the other men that have gone public and to do everything I can to protect other kids from harm by Bernie Fine and powerful men like him,” said Tomaselli in a prepared statement.
The filing alleges that Fine sexually abused Tomaselli in 2002 at Pittsburgh hotel and that he was ‘too young to have given any consent” and that he has suffered severe emotional distress and mental anguish since the incident.
His attorney, Jeff Anderson, also filed a civil lawsuit last week for an alleged abuse victim of former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky.
Tomaselli claims he was in town after Fine had invited him to come along for a Syracuse game.
“At the time I wasn’t even able to understand and process it as abuse, but now I know what harm he has done to me and others,” Tomaselli said in a statement who claims he never saw the incident as abuse until trusted friend told him so in 2008.
Local authorities in Pittsburgh were not aware of the incident until last month when Tomaselli came forward.
The filing comes despite comments on Wednesday from Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick that school attendance records from the day of the alleged incident do not back up Tomaselli’s claims.
The accuser’s father has said he believes his son is lying about the incident, according to the Associated Press.
Tomaselli has also been charged in Maine with sexual molestation on a teenage boy and says he will eventually plead guilty in that matter.
“I know I have done harm to a child as an adult and for that I am deeply sorry and need to be truthful,” said Tomaselli in his statement, “I need to get better and I am getting help.”