Youth hockey coach faces sex assault charges in DE, NJ

WOODBURY, N.J. (WTXF) - Prosecutors in New Jersey and Delaware say 55-year-old Walter "Tracy" Ferinden taught kids ice hockey.

And then stole their innocence.

Ferinden is charged, in both states, with a combined 11 counts of second degree illegal sexual contact, involving three alleged victims.

Said Sean Dalton, the Gloucester county prosecutor, in announcing the charges, "It is especially devastating when persons entrusted with the care and supervision of young people violate that trust."

For many years, Ferinden coached youth hockey and ran clinics.

While affiliated with The Skating Club in Wilmington, he's accused of making illegal sexual contact with two boys on nine separate occasions in the late 80s and early 90s.

In New Jersey, prosecutors say he was running clinics at the HollyDell Ice Arena in Sewall during the summer of 1994, when he befriended a 12-year-old boy.

"There is a period of grooming of the individual," said Dalton of Ferinden's methods. "He identifies someone whom he believes he can take advantage of, befriends them and then engages in this type of behavior."

Prosecutor say on two occasions that summer, Ferinden took the boy to his Deptford Township apartment, kissed him on the mouth, massaged his body and would rub his private parts against the boys body.

Frank Fioravanti and Ray Shannon have played ice hockey for years.

Frank had coached kids.

"You start coaching and then you get to know them and they trust you and it's a trust thing." 

And when someone abuses that trust?

"It's horrible," said Fioravanti. "I can't imagine that. I can't imagine that. It's got to be a sickness."

Said Shannon: "What happens is that the parents trust the coaches and stuff like that and there's a trust level and it gets crossed. It gets messed up. It's a shame."

Ferinden coached and ran clinics all up and down the northeastern United States--including Pennsylvania. Law enforcement believe there are other of his former players with allegations of their own.

Officer 1st class J. P. Poster of the New Castle County police dept. had this message for those alleged victims: "To any victims who have yet to come forward; we want to be your advocate and seek justice on your behalf."

Ferinden' current address us in Landsdale, PA.

A source told Fox29 he surrendered to authorities in Gloucester county Friday.

If you have allegations to make, please contact Det. Escheman at (302) 395-2745 or via email at JCEscheman@nccde.org.

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