Zach Tomaselli was lying the whole time

Tomaselli gave this case more unnecessary, unwanted layers and lies than it ever needed. (AP)
Is he lying this time too?

Motivated by Kansas' defeat at the hands of Syracuse in 2003's national title game -- stay with me here -- Zach Tomaselli decided he'd try to hurt the program by latching on lie after lie after lie after lie in the case against alleged sexual molester Bernie Fine. According to Tomaselli now -- and it's this time he's telling the truth, just like the last time he was telling the truth -- he made everything up.

Everything about every interaction he had or didn't have with Bernie Fine, it was all cheaply penned fiction. They were all fables of his own mind -- but not of his own doing, he says. Tomaselli and CNY Central's Matt Mulcahy had been swapping emails recently. In them, Tomaselli owns up to the lies.

Here's the money quote, per CNY Central:
"It has become a burden of a lie and I am sick of it. 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."
Hold up. Bobby Davis told Tomaselli what to tell the police?

Is this the truth? Are you lying again, Zach Tomaselli? If not, where are you now, Bobby Davis?

Right here. ESPN's Mark Schwartz, who arranged contact between Tomaselli and Davis (I'll get to that in a minute), swiftly got Davis on the record Friday morning about Tomaselli's latest claims.

"I never said anything like that at all to the kid," Davis told ESPN. "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.

"It was very short," Davis said of their conversations. "I asked him all the questions. I asked him to describe Bernie's house, to describe the arena, to name the players on the team at that time. He kept changing his story with me. He couldn't name the players, couldn't describe the house. I said, 'You just need to call the police.' I called back and asked him if he called the police and he said, 'no one answered.' I said, "no one answered?'"

Throw another lie on this grease fire of a story/case/ongoing amalgam of a botched and broken narrative against all involved.

And there is another sticky journalistic matter to address here. Consider the normal alternative to this story. There is a likelihood that we never know who Zach Tomaselli is if ESPN doesn't get Bobby Davis and Zach Tomaselli in touch with each other. It was Schwartz who arranged the the confabulation between the two accusers. What was the motivation, or the precedent, for Schwartz to do that? Schwartz injected himself into the story, and from there, according to a liar's liar, Tomaselli, Davis directed the misguided, 23-year-old sociopath from Maine to join the fight against Fine.

"It was a game to me," Tomaselli wrote in an email to CNY Central. "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 we were watching lesbian porn and going on and on. But obviously, it didn't pan out because of my school records and stuff. I was like, 'Oh, that's a hole I didn't fill.'"


Tomaselli's three-year prison sentence for sexually abusing a teen in Maine begins next week. His motivation to get involved in this case stems from charges against him in that case. Though he hasn't admitted it outright, it seems clear: Tomaselli hoped getting involved in the Fine case could garner sympathy from a judge or jury in his own. If he'd been molested before, that could, in his mind, ease the punishment/explain his actions for being the sick, in-desperate-need-of-help human being he's turned into.

What are you thinking now, Jim Boeheim? Let's all take a minute to daydream and try to envision what Boeheim is saying to close friends behind closed doors, off the record. This has officially become one of, if not the most screwed-up stories in the history of college basketball. Tomaselli makes up lie after lie -- turning a state case into a federal one in the process, oh by the way -- and helped catalyze a change in Syracuse's legacy forever.

None of this exonerates Fine, by the way. The tape of his wife's phone call to Davis can't be forgotten, as those tapes are now the most damning, singular evidence against his behavior. Davis' credibility remains in limbo, with the tapes being the only thing that's keeping him from being put into the same category as Tomaselli and that random, fly-by-night fourth accuser, Floyd VanHooser. He said Fine molested him. He lied about it. You may have forgotten about him. I can't blame you if you did. I've said it all along: on the heels of the Penn State story, this has been completely unpredictable and ever-turning.

Even now, the story has unbelievable life and twists that make you shake your head, not because you don't believe it, but because the totality of the story seemed amiss from the start.
CBS Sports Writer

Matt Norlander is a national award-winning senior writer who has been with CBS Sports since 2010. He's in his eighth season covering college basketball for CBS, and also covers the NBA Draft, the Olympics,... Full Bio

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