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Man found guilty of defaming father

Rich Cholodofsky
| Friday, Jan. 7, 2011

A Westmoreland County civil court jury on Thursday found that a Delmont man defamed his father when he accused him of sexual abuse.

After deliberating more than an hour, jurors returned a verdict in which they determined 28-year-old Dominic Cesare tarnished his reputation.

But the jury put no price on the defamation. It found that Anthony Cesare, 53, of Delmont was entitled to no monetary damages.

It was a finding that both father and son accepted, although Dominic Cesare said there would be no reconciliation of his family in the aftermath of the two-day trial.

"I don't even consider him my father," Dominic Cesare said.

Anthony Cesare sobbed when the verdict was announced. He said the defamation finding from the jury was what he was seeking and that the case was not about winning any money from his son.

"The dollars were not a big concern. It was not about the money. It was about what was right, the truth," Anthony Cesare said.

During the trial, Anthony Cesare contended his son lied on a court document he filed in 2008 in which he accused his father of sexually abusing him as a teenager.

Cesare said his son then told business associates about the allegation. The Cesares operate competing businesses that install custom-built water treatment systems.

Dominic Cesare told jurors yesterday that more than 12 years ago, his father was drunk, entered his bedroom, got into bed and fondled him. His father denied that allegation earlier in the trial.

The son, while on the witness stand, conceded his allegation was "impossible to prove."

Proof of the allegation was the basis for Dominic Cesare's defense. His lawyer, Steve Morrison, told jurors they would decide in favor of the son if they believed his story.

Anthony Cesare's lawyer, Amy Cunningham, argued that the son's allegations were unfounded and that the father should be compensated for having his reputation tarnished.

Cunningham, though, did not ask the jury to award a specific amount in damages and later praised the verdict.

"This jury showed the wisdom of Solomon. It is the right result," she said.

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