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‘Basketball Diaries’ coach sexually abused young boys: suit

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The coach who inspired a character in “The Basketball Diaries” sexually abused young boys from the 1950s through the 1980s, according to a lawsuit filed by 20 alleged victims against the Madison Square Boys and Girls Club.

Nicholas Antonucci, the club’s long-time gym director and basketball coach, allegedly “fondled boys’ genitals” inside the gym, locker room, closets and swimming pool in view of other staffers, according to the Manhattan Supreme Court lawsuit filed Monday.

Jim Carroll’s 1978 memoir “The Basketball Diaries” — later adapted into a movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio — detailed a gym coach “Lefty,” based on Antonucci, who “likes to do funny things to you like put his hands between your legs,” according to the lawsuit.

In the 1995 movie, Lefty’s character was renamed Swifty to avoid lawsuits, the court papers say.

“For years, as MSBC claimed that it provided young boys with a safe place to belong and stay out of trouble, it was instead giving serial child predators unfettered and unsupervised access to thousands of New York City children,” Jennifer Freeman, one of the plaintiffs’ lawyers said.

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