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Longtime youth baseball, basketball coach Tony Sagona accused by an eighth man of sexual abuse

Sagona's latest accuser says the coach began preying on him at 16 when he played for the Jersey Shore Warriors.

The number of men who have accused longtime New York and New Jersey youth basketball and Little League baseball coach Tony Sagona of sexual abuse climbed Thursday to eight.

A man using the pseudonym Bruce Boe filed a lawsuit in New Jersey alleging that Sagona began preying on him in 1991 when he was 16 and playing on his Jersey Shore Warriors basketball team.

“Sagona nurtured his relationship” by taking the teenager out to dinner and offering him pocket money, the complaint states. “Eventually, Sagona sexualized his relationship with plaintiff,” according to the complaint.

Boe said in the lawsuit that the “inappropriate conduct” with Sagona continued “beyond the period that Plaintiff was a minor.”

Coach Tony Sagona in 1976.
Coach Tony Sagona in 1976.Courtesy of James Manfredonia

This brings the total number of men who have sued Sagona to eight. And Boe is the third former Jersey Shore Warriors player to accuse Sagona of sexual abuse, according to the complaints.

Like the other two former Jersey Shore Warriors players, Boe said in the complaint he was drawn into Sagona’s orbit.

“Plaintiff was open to a friendship with Sagona under the belief that Sagona’s college contacts, mentoring, and tutelage could help Plaintiff further his basketball career and possibly help him attain a college scholarship or more,” the complaint states.

Five other men who played for Sagona’s Little League teams on Staten Island back in the 1970s and 1980s have also sued.

Sagona has denied all the allegations against him.

“We expect more men will be coming forward soon with allegations against Coach Sagona,” said attorney Bradley Rice, who filed the lawsuits on behalf of the former basketball players in Monmouth County, New Jersey, and the former Little League players in Richmond County, New York.

Rice said the latest former athlete to sue Sagona went on to play college basketball but declined to divulge any other details to protect his privacy.

Sagona’s lawyer, Aidan O’Connor, as well as the Jersey Shore Warriors team, which is also are named as defendants in the lawsuit, did not immediately return NBC News’ request for comment.

Rachel D'Orazio of the Amateur Athletic Association, which also is being sued, said the following: "The AAU does not comment on pending litigation."

Boe alleged in the court complaint that he accompanied Sagona to The Atlantic Club, which is located near the coach’s home in Morganville, New Jersey. He contends club employees “were aware of should have been aware of Sagona’s inappropriate conduct with Plaintiff while he was a minor.”

The Atlantic Club, which is also listed as a defendant in the lawsuit, didn’t immediately return NBC News’ request for comment.

The decades-old allegations against Sagona began surfacing after New Jersey opened a two-year window earlier this month which allows accusers to file lawsuits against alleged abusers that had been previously barred by the state’s statute of limitations.

A similar window opened in August in New York, called the Child Victims Act, which allowed Rice to file lawsuits against Sagona on behalf of five former Little League players, three of whom recently recounted their wrenching stories to NBC News.