Hockey coach mo­lesta­tion claims spi­ral

Eight boys make ac­cu­sa­tions

Boston Herald - - OPINION - By LAU­REL J. SWEET — lau­rel.sweet@boston­her­ald.com

Eight boys as young as 6, in­clud­ing two Mar­ble­head broth­ers, have stepped for­ward in the past week to ac­cuse their pri­vate hockey coach of mo­lest­ing them — and prose­cu­tors say they don’t know where the fount of dis­turb­ing claims will end.

“I’ve frankly never seen any­thing like it, and I’m not sure where we’re headed,” as­sis­tant Es­sex Dis­trict At­tor­ney Kate MacDougall told Judge James L. LaMothe Jr. dur­ing a dan­ger­ous­ness hear­ing yes­ter­day in Lynn Dis­trict Court.

Lamothe or­dered Christo­pher Prew, 31, held with­out bail on the first case to be brought for­ward, charg­ing him with rap­ing the 9-year-old son of a widow Prew ro­manced.

“He ba­si­cally started by of­fer­ing to teach the child how to skate, brought him to buy the equip­ment to skate, brought him to the rinks to teach him to skate . ... He had a lot of one-on-one time with the child,” Mar­ble­head po­lice of­fi­cer Theresa Gay tes­ti­fied yes­ter­day.

“I rec­og­nized him to be very bright and very will­ing to speak to me,” Gay said in praise of the third-grader. “He was ex­cited to tell me about hockey ... but when he started speak­ing about Chris Prew he kind of kept to him­self. He had his head down a cou­ple times and he got red in the face.”

Prew is sched­uled to re­turn to court Feb. 21 for a sec­ond dan­ger­ous­ness hear­ing in con­nec­tion with three new counts of in­de­cent as­sault and bat­tery on a child in­volv­ing two more Mar­ble­head boys. Prew pleaded not guilty yes­ter­day.

Five ad­di­tional player-stu­dents of Prew ac­cused him of in­de­cent as­sault and bat­tery in a span of just 24 hours this week, in­clud­ing the sib­lings. For­mal charges are pend­ing on po­lice in­ter­views with the five chil­dren.

MacDougall said all the ac­cusers are ages 6 to 11. Six are from Mar­ble­head, a sev­enth was an ex­change hockey player from Canada and the eighth lives out­side of Es­sex County. MacDougall said the 6-year-old was al­legedly as­saulted in a ho­tel while trav­el­ing with Prew to a hockey tour­na­ment.

The boys’ fam­i­lies “are strug­gling with the reality” that they left their kids in the care of a man they trusted, she told the court. And while Prew’s at­tor­ney Sean Don­ahue was able to amass more than two dozen let­ters of glow­ing sup­port for Prew, MacDougall said, “The com­mon­wealth has un­for­tu­nately col­lected eight vic­tims.”

State cor­po­ra­tion records show Prew was pres­i­dent of Hot Shot Academy, a busi­ness pro­vid­ing ath­letic and ed­u­ca­tional ser­vices. Don­ahue said the 2004 Winthrop High grad­u­ate has also worked as a house painter, land­scaper and per­sonal trainer.

STAFF PHOTO BY AN­GELA ROWL­INGS

BAIL DE­NIED: Christo­pher Prew ap­pears at a dan­ger­ous­ness hear­ing yes­ter­day in Lynn Dis­trict Court.

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