Youth hockey coach charged with molesting children in 1990s in N.J. and Del.

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A former youth ice hockey coach who led skating clinics across the region has been charged with molesting children in New Jersey and Delaware in the 1990s, authorities said Friday, urging any other potential victims to come forward.

Walter “Tracy” Ferinden, 55, of Lansdale, Montgomery County, was charged with two counts of sexual contact with a 12-year-old boy at Ferinden’s home in Deptford in the summer of 1994, the Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office announced at a news conference.

“It is especially devastating when persons entrusted with the care and supervision of young people violate that trust,” said Sean Dalton, the Gloucester County prosecutor.

Ferinden worked as a hockey coach in youth leagues and led skating clinics in the 1990s and as recently as 2010, Dalton said.

According to a probable cause affidavit, Ferinden was the boy’s hockey coach when Ferinden took the boy to his apartment in Deptford and kissed and molested him. The victim told two of his friends that “inappropriate behavior” had occurred.

Dalton said the behavior is consistent with other child sex cases: “There’s a period of grooming an individual, he identifies someone who he believes he can take advantage of, befriends them, and then engages in this type of behavior.”

A second victim in New Jersey also came forward, Dalton said at the news conference, but that alleged incident is past the statute of limitations, which allows prosecution of sex crimes occurring since 1991.

Ferinden also has been charged with nine counts of unlawful sexual contact with two minors in New Castle, Del. He had posted bail in New Castle, Dalton said. His lawyer, John C. Eastlack Jr., said Ferinden turned himself in Friday to Gloucester County prosecutors.

Ferinden coached youth hockey and led clinics in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New York, and Vermont, including clinics at Holly Dell Ice Arena in Washington Township.

Investigators believe other victims have yet to come forward, and urged anyone with information to contact the Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office at 856-384-5626 or the New Castle County Police Department at 302-395-2745.

“To any victims who have yet to come forward, we want to be your advocates and seek justice on your behalf,” said JP Piser, a New Castle County Police officer and spokesman, adding that support services are available. “You will not be alone in your pursuit of justice.”

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