Zach Tomaselli, the 23-year-old who earlier this week became the third man to accuse former Syracuse assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine of molestation, is now going into extreme detail about his relationship with Fine.
In an interview with the Kansas State University student newspaper, Tomaselli talks about meeting Fine at an autograph session, forming a relationship and eventually being invited to travel with the Syracuse basketball team on a trip to Pittsburgh. Tomaselli claims it was on this trip that Fine first molested him.
“I let him touch me,” Tomaselli said.
At first, he said, Fine “didn’t touch my genitals. He touched my stomach.”
After that incident concluded, Tomaselli said that he sat back onto the bed and was joined by Fine. He said that Fine then repeatedly fondled his genitals for five to 10 minute intervals over the course of the night. Eventually they went to sleep.
“When I woke up, Bernie was already in a suit. He looked at me and said ‘It’s gameday.’” Tomaselli said.
He said that Fine asked him to leave the bathroom door open while he showered. According to Tomaselli, he did not see Fine for the rest of the trip.
Tomaselli’s father has stated publicly that his son is lying, saying that whenever they attended Syracuse games they sat in the nose bleed seats, and have never been remotely close to Fine. Tomaselli says his father’s statements aren’t surprising.
“It was something that I expected,” he said. “In June, I reported [my father’s] abuse to the cops. I waited until I was 23 to not get my dad in trouble.”
He said he feared triggering an investigation of his father, so he waited until he believed the statute of limitations had expired. One of the reasons that Tomaselli waited to speak out about his father was to protect his mother and siblings. He said his mother had a co-dependant relationship with his father and he was concerned that if he reported the abuse, his father would be unable to support Tomaselli’s mother and siblings.
If all this weren’t enough, Tomaselli says the man who put him in contact with original Fine accuser Bobby Davis was none other than ESPN’s Mark Schwarz, the reporter who first broke the story.
Tomaselli was listening to the Herd with Colin Cowherd, an ESPN radio show, when he heard Davis’ account of his alleged abuse by Fine.
“I emailed [Cowherd] and he forwarded the email to Mark Schwarz,” Tomaselli said. Schwarz is an enterprise reporter for ESPN. “After talking to Schwarz on the phone, I got a phone call from a private number.”
The call was from Davis.
The only thing Tomaselli doesn’t address in the interview are the charges of the molestation that he’s facing himself in Maine. He’s accused of abusing a boy under 14, an accusation he denies.
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