A bank executive is facing a forcible touching charge stemming from an encounter last week with a female security worker in the VIP section at a Stony Brook University basketball game, according to police records.
John C. Tsunis, 63, chairman of the board and chief executive of Gold Coast Bank in Islandia, was charged with the misdemeanor sex offense, which carries a penalty of up to 1 year in jail, records show.
The incident occurred on March 4 at the Island Federal Credit Union Arena on the university grounds in Stony Brook, records show.
Tsunis of Poquott was arrested after the security worker, employed by a private contractor, approached a Stony Brook University police officer assigned to the game and reported that Tsunis had touched her in a sexual manner, the records show.
A lawyer for Tsunis, David Besso of Bay Shore, said his client "emphatically denies any guilt with regard to the allegations made against him by the Stony Brook police."
"Mr. Tsunis was attending a sporting event, and the allegations made against him are a blatant misrepresentation of the facts as they occurred and we are extremely confident that he will be vindicated when this matter is concluded," Besso said.
A university spokeswoman said in an email that, "This is a criminal matter involving a non-university individual and has been referred to the Suffolk County district attorney."
The security worker said she had tried to stop and redirect a man attempting to use an entryway between VIP suites, records show. The man grabbed her under the armpits and tried to move her aside, then touched her inappropriately after she demanded he release her, the records show.
"The complainant states that she recognized the suspect from other events that she has worked in the arena. She also states that he has always given her a problem with walking back and forth between the suites, but never to the point of physical contact," a police affidavit said.
Based on the woman's description, Stony Brook police found Tsunis in VIP Suite 4, the records show. Closed circuit video footage of the encounter was downloaded by police and Tsunis was arrested at 8:41 p.m., records show.
He was given a desk appearance ticket and released at 12:38 a.m., records show. He faces arraignment April 30 in First District Court in Central Islip.
The Stony Brook website shows the men's basketball team was playing at the arena against Binghamton that evening.
Tsunis opened his own law practice in 1977, according to the firm's website. He has also served on the Board of Governors of Touro Law School and is past chairman of the Stony Brook University Medical Center Children's Hospital Task Force, according to the website.