A Massachusetts youth hockey coach has been arrested on charges of sexually assaulting a player on his team, starting when the player was 14, police in Dracut said Monday.
Allen Pereira, 59, of Woburn, was arrested Sunday following an investigation by Dracut Police, the department said in a news release. Pereira was charged with three felony counts of indecent assault and battery on a person age 14 or over.
The investigation showed that Pereira was employed by a private youth hockey organization in Dracut during the alleged incidents, police said.
Pereira is alleged to have inappropriately touched the victim, who was unidentified, over the course of several years, starting when the victim was 14. The victim was also coerced to performing sexual acts on Pereira, according to police.
As of Tuesday, the suspect remained in the hospital and had yet to be arraigned.
Pereira worked at the pro shop at Breakaway Hockey Dek & Sports in Dracut, in addition to coaching a youth travel street hockey team that played and practiced at the facility.
"He was friendly, nice guy," said Dan Braga, who plays hockey at the arena. "It just really is awful and I don't know what you can do to prevent that from happening when you hire someone. You don't know unless, I guess, they have a record. It's a sad situation."
Pereira was hired at Breakaway in 2011, and he worked up until about five months ago when a parent came forward with an allegation of abuse and then went to police, according to Breakaway's owner, Casey Corcoran.
"We were made aware of the allegations and we took them very seriously," Corcoran said in a statement. "We took quick corrective action."
Pereira was fired.
"He's been in my house a thousand times," said a longtime tenant and friend of Pereira who did not want to be identified. "You think I'd have a pedophile in my house?"
It's unclear how old the alleged victim is now.
"The suspect is alleged to have inappropriately touched the victim and allegedly tried to coerce the victim into performing sexual acts on him," said Dracut Police Chief Peter Bartlett.
Police are asking anyone who may have more information on this case, or the suspect himself, or if there may be any other victims to come forward, as detectives continue to build their investigation.
Pereira was arrested on Sunday and will be arraigned in Lowell District Court on three felony charges of indecent assault and battery. It was not immediately clear if he had an attorney.