PHILADELPHIA – A Ukrainian hockey coach accused of committing sexual acts with a 14-year-old boy has been arrested, federal investigators say.
Ivan Pravilov, who has been staying in Cherry Hill, N.J., committed sexual acts with a boy visiting in the United States and attending hockey clinics, according to a criminal complaint. Pravilov, 48, was in federal custody Thursday pending a detention hearing, authorities said in a news release, and he couldn’t be reached for comment.
Special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Philadelphia said Thursday that Pravilov was arrested on charges of travelling in interstate commerce for the purpose of engaging in sexual acts with a minor.
According to federal court documents, two 14-year-old boys reported identical accounts of the night of Jan. 3 after they were transported by Pravilov from Delaware to Pennsylvania. Pravilov, while staying at an apartment in the vicinity of Elkins Park, a Philadelphia suburb, placed his hand on one of the boys’ genitals, the documents say.
When Pravilov learned that one of the boys told of the abuse, he threatened him and hit him, the documents say.
The website for the coach’s hockey school, Ivan Pravilov’s Unique Hockey School, lists former Philadelphia Flyers player Dainius Zubrus, who now plays for the New Jersey Devils, as among his former students.
Phone and email messages left with the school and with a lawyer listed for Pravilov weren’t immediately returned Thursday.
NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said he was unaware of any connection Pravilov may have to the league.
Investigators asked anyone who has any information about Pravilov to contact ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations Office in Philadelphia. Authorities said the investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide initiative to protect children from sexual predators.
Pravilov had been holding practices with Ukrainian boys at The Rink at Old York Road in Elkins Park since November, rink general manager and hockey director Justin Adamski Sr. said. Pravilov had been doing practices at rinks throughout the area that would give him free ice time, Adamski said.
“He would thank us a million times,” said Adamski, who said he never saw anything inappropriate going on between Pravilov and the boys, who were mostly between the ages of 12 and 15. “We were giving him ice time to skate.”