Christopher Prew enters Court Room 2 in Lynn District Court for a dangerousness hearing on Wednesday.
Christopher Prew enters Court Room 2 in Lynn District Court for a dangerousness hearing on Wednesday. (Spenser R. Hasak)
Local Crime, News

Hockey coach charged with child rape held without bail

LYNN — A 31-year-old hockey coach from Marblehead accused of raping a 9-year-old boy is now charged with sexually assaulting two other children.

Christopher Prew was ordered held without bail during a dangerousness hearing on Wednesday in Lynn District Court.

In total, he has been accused of sexually assaulting eight young boys, but is facing charges for three of the children. The five other cases are under investigation, according to the Essex County District Attorney's office.

He was indicted by an Essex County Grand Jury on Monday for allegedly raping a 9-year-old boy.

Prew was arrested by Marblehead Police last week and arraigned on charges of aggravated rape of a child and four counts of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14. He is accused of indecently assaulting and orally raping the boy on various dates since last fall, according to the Essex County District Attorney's office.

The boy told his mother, who had been in a relationship with Prew, which initiated the investigation.

Prew is also facing three more indecent assault and battery on a child charges, involving two additional children, both 9-year-old boys, prosecutors said.

In the past 24 hours, five more boys have accused Prew of sexually assaulting them. All of the children were participating in the hockey program with Prew. He is not affiliated with Marblehead Hockey Association, but provides private and group hockey sessions in the area.

Marblehead Police Officer Theresa Gay, a sexual assault investigator with the department, was called as a witness during the hearing on Wednesday. She told the court that on Feb. 5, she was asked to come in for an interview with a mother who was bringing in her 9-year-old son, who had allegedly been sexually assaulted.

Gay said the boy told her that Prew, his hockey coach and friend of the family, had assaulted him and touched him inappropriately. On three separate occasions, Prew had placed his hand on the victim's penis and that Prew additionally had made the child touch his penis, she said.

All occurred in Marblehead in a condominium owned by the boy's mother, according to Gay. Prew was living at the condo. All of this happened when he was alone with Prew, she said.

At that point, Gay said, she stepped out of the interview with the boy and told his mother she would refer the case to the Essex County District Attorney's office. The mother told Gay that she had received a Facebook message from Prew, who was reaching out and asking specifically about her son, in the summer of 2016.

The mother told police Prew had offered to teach her son how to skate and took him shopping for hockey equipment, according to court documents. Prew took the boy to ice rinks to learn how to skate and the mother arranged for groups of kids to participate in training sessions where he would coach small groups of kids for cash.

The mother told Gay that Prew had a lot of one-on-one time with the child. Additionally her son had told her that when he had been alone with Prew, the coach had orally sexually assaulted him, which the child had described as not feeling good and something that made him uncomfortable.

In addition, the child reported that Prew had also touched him at least twice at the boy's home in Marblehead, Gay said.

Police met with another child at his home on Monday, according to Gay. That child said Prew had touched him on his private parts while they were inside Prew's condo. The child's mother told police about a third child who was present with her son on multiple occasions, and there was concern that he was also assaulted. Both boys are 9 and participated in hockey, Gay said.

Marblehead Police then received a call from the third boy's family and learned that the father had spoken with his son and confirmed that Prew had touched his child as well. In this case, Prew had touched the child's private area over clothing, which occurred at the Marblehead condo, Gay said.

Marblehead Police then learned of a fourth child, who also played hockey, but the allegations took place outside of Essex County, Gay said.

Two families contacted Marblehead Police on Tuesday night, with one family reporting that two of their boys, who were very involved in the hockey program, were touched on their private parts by Prew, Gay testified. Some of the touching occurred in their home in Marblehead. The boys were a similar age, between 9 and 11, she said.

Up until that point, Gay confirmed that the family with the two boys had been very publicly supportive of Prew, when questioned by Essex County Assistant District Attorney Kate MacDougall. They reported that they learned of another child located in Marblehead, a Canadian exchange student, who participated in a hockey exchange between Marblehead and Canada. The boy was also in that same age range, Gay said.

Gay said the second family to call reported their 6-year-old son was touched in his private area by Prew while at an out-of-state hockey tournament. This allegedly happened in a hotel room, she said.

The three boys Prew is charged with assaulting are all from Marblehead. Of the uncharged incidents with the five other boys, one incident occurred outside of Essex County, one is a Canadian exchange student, but the incident happened in Marblehead, one boy is from Marblehead, but the incident happened out of state at a hockey tournament and two are Marblehead brothers, with the incident occurring in Marblehead, prosecutors said.

"Frankly, I've never seen anything like it," MacDougall said. "I'm not sure where we're headed."

Prew's defense attorney, Sean Donahue, said the mother of the initial alleged victim and his client were intimately involved for a year or so, but that Prew had informed her in January that the relationship was going in a direction that didn't really interest him and was deeper than he wanted to go.

He argued that there was a lack of evidence and that police entered Prew's condominium without a search warrant. Gay said police entered the condominium with permission of the owner.

Donahue pointed out the multiple family members who were at the hearing to support his client, including his stepfather, Robert Martino, who offered to take Prew in if he were released on bail. He also submitted character references.

In a previous separate statement, Donahue said Prew and his family were devastated by the accusations.

"Over the next several weeks, my client, who, until recently, was intimately involved with the mother of the child, and I will closely examine these horrific accusations," he said.  "While child abuse laws aim to protect children, the justice system is set up to vindicate those who are wrongfully accused.  We expect that Mr. Prew will eventually be vindicated."

He did not respond to requests for further comment on the additional accusations.

Prew returns to court on Feb. 21.

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