Just two days after being sentenced to more than three years in prison for sexually abusing a boy in Maine, Zach Tomaselli revealed that he had been lying about being sexually abused by former Syracuse assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine. Tomaselli was the third man to come forward and accuse Fine of sexual abuse.
During email and telephone interactions with CNYCentral's Matt Mulcahy, Tomaselli not only recanted his own abuse allegations but also claimed that Bobby Davis, one of the other two alleged victims of Fine, actually told him what to tell police.
"It has become a burden of a lie and I am sick of it," Tomaselli wrote to CNYCentral. "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."
On Friday, Davis spoke with ESPN's Mark Schwarz and denied Tomaselli's claims.
"I never said anything like that at all to the kid," Davis said. "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."
Davis also told Pete Thamel of The New York Times that he knew Tomaselli was lying, but said he's "not in position to question anybody."
Davis and his stepbrother Mike Lang accused Fine in November of molesting them when they were ball boys for the Syracuse team during the 1980s and '90s.
Tomaselli, 23, was the third man to accuse Fine, alleging that Fine molested him in 2002 in a Pittsburgh hotel room. In January, Tomaselli admitted to doctoring emails in an attempt to convince reporters to help him publicize his claims against Fine. Even after he conceded that aspects of his account had been fabricated, he then maintained that Fine had indeed molested him in 2002.
Even before Tomaselli admitted to doctoring his correspondance, there had been doubts cast on his versions of events. Although Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick publicly vouched for the credibility of Davis and Lang in December 2011, he announced that he was turning over exculpatory evidence to federal investigators regarding Tomaselli's case.
Asked by Mulcahy about the difficulties of creating and propping up the lie, Tomaselli said, "it was a game to me."
UPDATE: Tomaselli spoke with The Associated Press on Friday, reaffirming the statements that he made to Matt Mulcahy of CNYCentral. Tomaselli described himself as a "habitual liar and sociopath" and added that he took pride in his ability to deceive others throughout the scandal.