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Former Concordia baseball player, Anthony Collaro, and former coach, Spiro Lempesis, go public about sex acts

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Anthony Collaro graduated from Concordia University of Chicago in 2011.

His senior year on the baseball diamond was a good one, with all-conference recognition.

But it's what happened two years prior that's caused him great pain and anger toward his ex-coach.

Today, Collaro goes public with his story - and so too does his former coach.

"As far as growing up - everyone really thought I had a good shot to go somewhere playing baseball," said Collaro.

Anthony Collaro had talent and a dream: to one day pitch in the majors.

He says his coach at Concordia University, Spiro Lempesis, promised to talk him up to big league scouts.

But eventually that came with a condition: that Collaro perform a sex act, which his coach recorded over numerous occasions on a video camera in his office on campus.

"He would post a sign on the door saying video-taping for class in progress. Please don't disturb," said Collaro.

For most of his 2008 sophomore year, Collaro says he set aside his discomfort, and did what his coach requested in pursuit of his baseball dream.

But when the coach, Collaro says, wanted more, Collaro said "no."

"I told him this is way - this is really, really uncomfortable for me. At the beginning it was, but this is crossing the line for me. I didn't really see how this was going to help me move forward," said Collaro.

From that point on, Collaro's playing time was dramatically reduced. He says Lempesis told him that if he revealed anything, his baseball career and the coach's would be over.

Coach Lempesis' career at Concordia did end in the fall of 2010 when the university fired him for what it would describe two years later as "egregious", "suspected inappropriate sexual conduct."

"I made a real poor decision with getting involved with a player. That's my fault. I cannot hide that. I cannot regret that. I mean I do regret it, but I can't do anything about it. But how much more do I have to pay. I've lost everything," said Lempesis.

Lempesis says his wife and children have left him. He's about to declare bankruptcy. He insists his relationship with Collaro - 18 at the time - was between consenting adults, that he never promised him anything, never punished him and that the University has left him without a future.

"They fought my unemployment. I tried to get $110 to feed my kids and put a roof over their heads. You don't think there's discrimination there after 11 years of service and all I did for them," said Lempesis.

"Where was Concordia in all of this process - all these years, not knowing what was going on," said Antonio Romanucci, Collaro's attorney.

Anthony Collaro is suing his former coach and Concordia University of Chicago alleging fraud and breach of trust. Collaro did have a successful senior year at Concordia, but struggles now with his past, and made the decision to go public.

"As far as this happening to someone else, I wouldn't want to have someone else in my shoes. I want to make sure he doesn't do it again, and no other coach is able to do it again," said Collaro.

The university has declined comment on the lawsuit but said in two previous written statements that it acted quickly and responsibly when it found evidence of Lempesis' behavior.

There was no public comment from the university when it fired the coach in the fall of 2010.

But it did conduct a re-investigation of Lempesis after he was discovered last June in the back seat of a car with a young man under age 18.

Elmhurst police briefly held Lempesis, but didn't charge him because they determined the young man had lied about his age.

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