Former Syracuse ball boy Bobby Davis and Michael Lang pushed forward with their lawsuit against the school and Orange head basketball coach Jim Boeheim on Wednesday, claiming Boeheim defamed them following their claims that they were sexually abused by former assistant coach Bernie Fine.
But on the same day Davis and Lang were accusing Boeheim of intimidating other possible victims from coming forward, one of their fellow accusers admitted he fabricated his account.
In a series of e-mails to CNYCentral.com, Zach Tomaselli recanted the allegations he made in December, saying “it was a game to me.”
“It has become a burden of a lie and I am sick of it,” Tomaselli said in an e-mail. “Bobby Davis told me what to tell detectives and it pretty much took off from there. The evidence that supports me is just pure luck, not real evidence. I made the ENTIRE thing up. I have never met Bernie in my life.”
“It was a game to me,” Tomaselli told CNYCentral’s Matt Mulcahy in a telephone interview. “It was fun trying to make this story come alive. I was told by Bobby Davis what kind of porn Bernie likes. So I would add that we were watching lesbian porn and going on and on. But, obviously, it didn’t pan out because of my school records, there was a hole I didn’t fill.”
On Friday, Davis denied giving Tomaselli details about his interactions with Fine during their conversations, telling ESPN’s Mark Schwarz, “I just spoke to him a couple minutes. there were like two phone calls between us and they lasted a total of three to four minutes.”
Tomaselli told CNYCentral.com that his lie was motivated by his dislike for the Syracuse basketball team after they beat his favorite team, the Kansas Jayhawks, in the 2003 national title game.
Tomaselli’s lawsuit against Fine was dismissed in January after he told the Post-Standard of Syracuse that he altered e-mail correspondence with Syracuse police regarding his abuse claims. Tomaselli, 23, is scheduled to report to a Maine prison next Wednesday to begin a three-year sentence for sexually abusing a 14-year-old boy at a summer camp.
Boeheim and Syracuse University filed motions to dismiss the lawsuit filed by Davis and Lang, but the men’s lawyers are pressing onward.
In late November, Davis, 40, and Lang accused Fine of molesting them in the 1980s. Two months later, Davis alleged Fine’s wife, Laurie Fine, had sex with several players and that her sexual involvement with the team was openly known.
When the initial allegations surface, Boeheim vehemently defended his longtime assistant, accusing Davis of using the media circus surrounding the unfolding sexual abuse scandal involving former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky to cash in. Boeheim later apologized for the remarks when Tomaselli became the third accuser to step forward.
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Early Lead: Fourth man accuses Fine of sexual abuse