Zach Tomaselli, the third person to accuse former Syracuse coach Bernie Fine of sexual assault, admitted on Friday that he doctored emails to the media in order to bolster his claims.
Tomaselli admitted that he had doctored emails from Syracuse Police Department detective Clark Farry in order to show that police believed his father was lying. He claims that the police department had told him it knew his father was lying, but that he had no way of proving that without doctoring the emails.
The biggest reason is support, Tomaselli told The Daily Orange. I felt like there was so much stuff that people didn't know. The police were telling me that they knew my father was lying, but there's no way for me to get that out. And that's the only thing I could think of.
Tomaselli forwarded emails from the police detective to local media, but added a few sentences in order to prove his case. In one particular email he added that Tomaselli's father, who has publicly denied that his son was abused by Fine, was a liar and a sick man.
The 23-year old told the Syracuse student newspaper that he knows he made a mistake and has even asked the police department to end its investigation of Bernie Fine. He maintains that Fine is guilty of sexually abusing him at a Pittsburgh hotel room, but doesn't want to pursue the issue any further.
Some have speculated, including his father, that Tomaselli accused Fine of sexual abuse because he was facing his own sexual abuse allegations. He was charged in April on charges of gross sexual assault, tampering with a victim, two counts of unlawful sexual contact, five counts of visual sexual aggression against a child, and unlawful sexual touching. He pleaded guilty to gross sexual assault, unlawful sexual contact in December, but had seven related charges dropped. He faces a maximum penalty of three years and three months in prison and will be sentenced in February.
Tomaselli's announcement that he doctored emails comes on the heels of Fine's fourth accuser, Floyd VanHooser, admitting on Sunday that Fine never sexually abused him. VanHooser initially told police that Fine had been abusing him since 1969, but later admitted he only said that because he felt that Fine didn't do enough to help him in a criminal manner.
VanHooser is currently serving 16 years to life in prison for burglary-related charges and admitted in a letter obtained by the Syracuse Post-Standard that he did it because he believed if (Fine) had got a good lawyer for me I would have done better than 16 to life or as I see it 16 to death.
The recent admissions leave only Bobby Davis and Mike Lang as accusers with rather credible cases against Fine. The charges by the two relatives are outside of the statute of limitations -- so Fine won't face criminal penalties -- but remain the most credible accusations due to the chilling phone conversation between Davis and Fine's wife, Laurie.
Davis legally recorded an Oct. 8, 2002 phone conversation with Laurie Fine that seemingly implicates her husband in the sexual assault charges. Laurie Fine admitted to Davis that her husband needs male companionship that I can't give him and that her husband wasn't interested in me.
But the comment that has drawn the most ire was one that Laurie Fine made that seemed to indicate she knew all along that her husband was sexually molesting young boys.
I know everything that went on, you know, Laurie Fine told Davis in the recorded phone conversation. I know everything that went on with him.
Davis and Lang, his stepbrother, have accused Fine of sexually molesting them over a 10-year period. They claimed that the abuse began when Davis was a ballboy with Syracuse University and stayed at the Fine household.
Fine has denied the charges against him, but was fired after 35 seasons as a Syracuse basketball coach. He has stayed out of the limelight with investigations still on-going.