Attorneys Jeff Anderson and Alan Perer announced a civil lawsuit filed on behalf of Zach Tomaselli against former Syracuse University assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine. Tomaelli spoke at Thursday TMs press conference.
Tomaselli, 23, has accused Fine of sexually abusing him when Tomaselli was 13 years old.
Tomaselli TMs lawyer, Jeff Anderson, says Tomaselli wants to do everything he can do to make sure that no other kids are harmed by Bernie fine or others. He wants to hold Fine accountable for his actions and support the others who have come forward.
Tomaselli said, I believe he [Fine] is dangerous and could hurt others.
Tomaselli is taking action, to protect other kids from harm by Fine and other kids like him, said his lawyer. It is our desire| to do something today to protect kids tomorrow.
Zach suffered in silence. He suffered in secrecy, said Tomaselli's lawyer, He blamed himself, just like to many survivors of sexual abuse do.
Anderson said that the Onondaga District Attorney, Bill Fitzpartick, was, simply just out of line, when he made comments about Tomaselli yesterday which questioned Tomaselli TMs credibility.
Tomaselli mentioned allegations that he has also abused a child. He said he knows he has harmed a child as an adult, and professed his sorrow. Tomaselli says he is getting help and working to get better. Anderson says that Tomaselli feels he needs to take responsibility for what he has done, and is getting help understanding how that situation came to be. That case is currently pending.
Tomaselli has claimed he was molested by Fine after taking a bus to Pittsburgh at Fine's invitation to watch Syracuse play the Pittsburgh Panthers in January of 2002.
Anderson says that Tomaselli was a naive kid who did not understand that what happened to him was sexual abuse. The religious home Tomaselli grew up in led him to believe that he had sinned, and that he was guilty. It was not until 2008, when Tomaselli confided in a friend, that he realized that it had been sexual abuse.
Anderson said that he is certain that law enforcement is continuing to investigate the allegations. He hopes that they find evidence and are able to prosecute Fine in a criminal court.
When asked about the specifics of the alleged trip to Pittsburgh, Anderson says that he is not certain of which hotel Tomaselli stayed at, but that it is the same hotel which the Syracuse University basketball team stayed. Anderson says Tomaselli traveled on a bus with college-aged individuals to the game. The people on the bus were not members of the basketball team and wore orange golf shirts.
Yesterday, Onondaga County Bill Fitzpatrick gave a press conference about the investigation . DA Fitzpatrick says based on a number of criteria and his office's combined 150 years of experience in dealing with sexual abuse victims, his office has determined the allegations of other two accusers, Bobby Davis and Mike Lang, are credible and would hold up in court.
Fitzpatrick said he has turned over school records and team travel records that may call into question Tomaselli's claim that Fine abused him in 2002 in a Pittsburgh hotel when the team played a road game there. He called the records "exculpatory," which is evidence that helps the defense.
Bernie Fine has called all of the child molestation accusations "patently false".