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Syracuse Coach’s Accuser Pleads Guilty To Sex Abuse

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NEW YORK: A man who accused former Syracuse University assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine of molesting him faces up to three years in jail after pleading guilty in Maine to charges of sexually abusing a 13-year-old boy.

Zach Tomaselli, 23, of Lewiston, Maine entered a plea deal on Tuesday that limited his possible prison time for sexual abuse of the boy at a Maine day camp where he had worked as a counsellor, a spokesperson for the Superior Court in Auburn, Maine said.

Tomaselli pleaded guilty to gross sexual assault, unlawful sexual contact and two counts of visual sexual aggression.

When he is sentenced in February, Tomaselli will face no more than three years and three months in prison followed by six years of probation rather than the 12 years in prison that he might have received under the original criminal counts. Tomaselli was released on $2,500 bail.

Reached for comment, Tomaselli told Reuters he was under a gag order and could not say anything about the case.

Tomaselli is one of three men who say they were sexually molested as children by Fine, who was fired as assistant coach to Syracuse’s Hall of Fame basketball coach Jim Boeheim. The university, located in Syracuse, New York, has one of the most prominent college basketball programs in the United States.

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 filed a civil lawsuit against Fine last week, saying he suffered “severe mental anguish and horror.”

Tomaselli, who was arrested in April on charges of sexually assaulting the 13-year-old boy, said he wanted to plead guilty because he feels sorrow for the pain he inflicted on the child, who is the younger brother of a friend.