MONMOUTH COUNTY – A Jersey Shore youth sports coach has been accused of sexually abusing two of his athletes, according to an NBC report.
Founder and coach of the Jersey Shore Warriors, Tony Sagona, has been accused of sexually abusing two minors who played on his New Jersey Amateur Athletic Association (AAU) basketball team, according to NBC.
According to one complaint, Sagona began making sexual demands of one 16-year old, identified by the pseudonym Richard Roe, such as giving him full-body massages. If the minor refused his advances, Sagona would threaten his position as a member of the team, according to the report.
The suit details instances of various sexual demands, some including payment. In one instance, when Roe rebuffed Sagona’s alleged attempt to rape him in 2005 while on a college recruiting trip, the coach allegedly demoted him to the “B” team and cut his playing time, NBC reports.
Another complaint made by second former basketball player “John Doe” states that Sagona was “grooming” him for sex.
The suits, also naming the Jersey Shore Warriors and the Amateur Athletic Association as defendants, were filed a day after New Jersey opened a two-year window during which accusers can file lawsuits against alleged abusers that had been previously barred by the state’s statute of limitations.
Sagona allegedly molested at least four minors who played on his former Staten Island teams that he coached in the 1970s and 1980s, according to NBC. Sagona is now linked to seven sexual abuse cases in two different states spanning several decades, the report said.
Sagona denies all the allegations.