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Bernie Fine accuser pleads guilty to child sex abuse charges in Maine

Zach Tomaselli
Zach Tomaselli AP Photo/Joel Page

(CBS/AP) - LEWISTON, Maine - One of the men who has accused former Syracuse University assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine of sexual abuse pleaded guilty Tuesday to charges that he himself sexually abused a Maine boy.

Zachary Tomaselli, 23, appeared in court the day after being arrested for allegedly violating his bail by giving a car ride to a minor. Tomaselli was not allowed to have contact with anyone under 18 outside of work.

Tomaselli pleaded to four of the 11 counts against him, including gross sexual assault, and, according to his defense attorney, he faces a maximum penalty of 3 years and 3 months, reports CBS affiliate WGME. He will be free on bail until sentencing in February.

According to WGME, Tomaselli had initially planned to plead not guilty to the charges, which involve a young teenage boy who attended a camp where Tomaselli was a counselor. However, after counseling Tomaselli said he came to understand that he was grooming the boy for a relationship. 

Maine's Sun Journal newspaper reports that Androscoggin County Deputy District Attorney Craig Turner said that had Tomaselli's case gone to trial, witnesses would have testified that Tomaselli struck up a friendship with the boy, then began talking to him about sex and encouraging the boy to sneak out of his house to meet him. Eventually, the two had sexual intercourse, said Turner.

Tomaselli has accused former Syracuse assistant coach Bernie Fine of molestation in 2002 when he was 13. Fine has denied the allegation.

Complete coverage of Bernie Fine on Crimesider

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