A former Concordia University Chicago student has filed a lawsuit against the university and its former baseball coach alleging the coach coerced him into performing sexual acts more than a dozen times in exchange for helping him get drafted to a major league baseball team.
Anthony Collaro alleges that while he was a sophomore and junior at the University, his former coach, Spiro Lempesis, said that he would promote Collaro to baseball scouts if he performed sexual acts on video, which he said he would later sell to a pornography company, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit filed Tuesday in Cook County Circuit Court names both the university and Lempesis as defendants. Neither the University nor Lempesis could immediately be reached for comment.
The two met in 2000 when Collaro was 10 and participating in a baseball pitcher’s summer camp that Lempesis was coaching. Seven years later, Collaro began pitching for Concordia University’s baseball team, which Lempesis was also coaching, according to the lawsuit.
Around August of 2007, Collaro told Lempesis that he wanted to become a professional baseball player. The lawsuit alleges Lempesis told him he would contact baseball team recruiters in the major, minor and independent leagues in order to induce him to perform sexual acts.
According to the lawsuit, Collaro performed sexual acts between 20 and 30 times in Lempesis’s office in the school gym between June 2008 and June 2009.
Lempesis told him he would edit the video footage and sell it to a porn company in California in exchange for profit. He also said that he formed a similar arrangement with two other former Concordia baseball players who later secured jobs with professional baseball teams, the lawsuit alleges.
Lempesis said he was in contact with The Pittsburg Pirates, Philadelphia Phillies, Tampa Bay Rays, and the Cincinnati Reds. But Collaro claims he was never contacted by any recruiters or saw any scouts at his games, the lawsuit says.
“This has had a profound effect on his life, because he has lost an opportunity at fulfilling one of his dreams,” said Collaro’s lawyer Antonio Romanucci, partner at Romanucci and Blandin.
In July 2009, Lempesis asked Collaro to perform a sexual act, but he refused. Later, Lempesis began restricting Collaro’s playing time, the lawsuit alleges.
Lempesis was fired from Concordia in September of 2010, according to the lawsuit.
Romanucci said Collaro was inspired to file the lawsuit after seeing athletes come forward in the wake of the Maine West hazing scandal.
“I really do think Maine West has been a protagonist,” said Romanucci. “People are realizing that it’s not a crime for the victim to come forward and talk about what happened to them.”