A former youth ice hockey coach who coached and ran skating clinics in five states has been convicted of sex offenses in New Jersey and Delaware. 57-year-old Walter Ferinden has been sentenced to two separate prison terms in these states and was also active with coaching and skating clinics in Pennsylvania, New York, and Vermont.
In 2017, Ferinden was arrested on charges related to the alleged abuse of a child in Gloucester County, New Jersey in 1994 and a second victim in Burlington County in 1992. In Delaware, he was charged with nine counts of similar crimes for abuse that occurred during the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Ferinden pleaded guilty to unlawful sexual conduct charges in Delaware in December and was sentenced to two years in prison. On May 3, he was sentenced to three years in New Jersey on aggravated sexual contact charges.
Each of these sentences will be served separately and will not run concurrently.
Attorney contributor Brian Kent has dedicated his career to helping survivors of sexual abuse find justice. Here are some general thoughts from Brian on the legal options available to those who have survived abuse in youth sports leagues:
Youth sports leagues are valuable organizations in their communities. However, like other fields that involve working with children, it’s important to be aware of the fact that sexual predators often seek out positions in youth sports. These predators build trust in their communities and with their victims before committing terrible crimes. The victims of these heinous crimes deserve justice.
The criminal justice system handles the prosecution of sexual predators. However, victims also have other ways of finding justice. In many cases, victims of sexual abuse in youth sports leagues and other youth organizations may have a case for a lawsuit against their abuser. In some of these cases, third parties can also be held liable for their negligence – such as a youth sports league that ignored complaints of sexual misconduct by a coach.
If you or someone you love is a survivor of sexual abuse in a youth sports league, you may have grounds for a lawsuit. You can learn more about your family’s legal options by speaking with an experienced sex abuse survivors lawyer.