WEST CHESTER, PA — The Chester County District Attorney’s Office announced the arrest of Zachary Ray, 31, of Wynnewood, PA, in connection to the sexual abuse of three child victims while acting in a capacity as a basketball coach and trainer. The defendant perpetrated the abuse on three children ages 10-16 from 2014-2023 when he assaulted them at schools, parks, and their homes. He was arrested by Chester County Detectives on September 25, 2023, and charged with aggravated indecent assault, child pornography, indecent assault, unlawful contact with minors, corruption of minors, and related offenses. Ray is facing similar charges in Philadelphia and is awaiting trial there.
The defendant posted bail after he was remanded to Chester County Prison on September 25, 2023. Bail was set at $250,000, 10%, by Magisterial District Judge Martin Goch. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, October 4, 2023.
“The defendant preyed on the innocence of these child victims. These kids and their families trusted him as a coach, a guide, and an instructor so they could grow as athletes, but instead, he violated them and altered the course of their lives with this horrible betrayal,” said Chester County District Attorney Deb Ryan. “Law enforcement believes there may be more victims still unidentified. If you have any information on this case, contact Detective Ben Martin at 610-344- 6866.”
The criminal complaint alleges that on August 21, 2023, Chester County Detectives received information that Zachary Ray had sexually abused multiple female juvenile victims while acting as their privately retained basketball coach and trainer during sessions at different locations in and around Chester County from 2014-2023. The victims were between the ages of 10-16 and stated they were assaulted at schools, parks, and homes. The victims all described that the defendant would remove their clothing to conduct a “core check” or stretch them while touching their genitals. He also used his cell phone to photograph them.
Chester County Detectives learned that on May 1, 2023, a report of possible child sexual abuse was forwarded to the Philadelphia Special Victims Unit from the PA Childline regarding a child victim in that county.
The Philadelphia child victim had been involved in various basketball leagues and teams in Pennsylvania. During her basketball tryouts, the victim and her family were introduced to the defendant as a coach. From 2019 through 2023, Ray was the Philadelphia child victim’s coach or trainer. Beginning in 2021, Ray was hired by her family for private basketball training. The child victim disclosed that the defendant would touch her inappropriately under her clothing on her bare chest and private parts from the ages of 14 through 15 years old. She also advised detectives that Ray had taken videos of him rubbing her private areas.
The Philadelphia investigation led to the defendant’s arrest and a search of his cell phone in May of 2023. While searching his device, photographs of multiple female juveniles were recovered. Several photos showed the juvenile’s bare breasts and exposed privates. Detectives identified the child victim, who agreed to an August 23, 2023 interview.
Investigators determined that the defendant’s cell phone had a factory reset on December 26, 2021, which wiped the memory. On December 27, 2022, it was restored and backed up through iCloud. Images identified as child sexual abuse material (CSAM) of child victim #1 were backed up to the defendant’s cloud storage.
On August 23, 2023, child victim #1, who had turned 18 since the abuse, was interviewed by the Philadelphia Police Department and the Chester County Detectives. The victim stated that she had met the defendant while he was coaching at Youth Basketball League in the West Chester area. Her family hired Ray to train her for basketball, which would regularly occur at parks in the West Chester area. The victim stated that Ray would run basketball and conditioning drills with her, lasting from the time she was around ten years old in 2014 until 2020, when she was approximately sixteen years old.
The inappropriate touching of child victim #1 began at the parks when she was between the ages of 10-11 years old. Child victim #1 stated that the defendant told her he needed to “check her core” and would feel her hips, groin, and chest. She stated that this practice escalated to the point where she was lying down, and he would pull her shorts down and rub his hand on her privates. She informed investigators that the defendant never performed these checks on her brother. She disclosed that the checks were performed at least twice a week while working out with him at the park, but he would run his hand over her privates for more extended periods at her home. She told detectives that Ray touched her breasts, pulled her pants down, and touched her privates.
She informed detectives that she was concerned Ray had videos or photographs of her during these encounters since he typically held his phone, indicating he was texting or sending an email.
Photographs were shown to child victim #1 who confirmed that she was the individual in multiple images involving CSAM. She informed investigators that many of the images showing her privates had been taken between her freshman and junior year of high school, when she was between the ages of 13-16 years old.
Child victim #2 had been interviewed by detectives in October 2019, when she resided in Schuylkill Township, Chester County, during the time of the abuse. On October 15, 2019, the child victim stated that she had a personal trainer, Zachary Ray, who touched her body approximately fifteen times during training sessions. Child victim #2 stated that the contact occurred from the fall of 2018 through the fall of 2019, while the victim was between 13-14 years old. The victim stated that she would stretch, and the defendant would touch her stomach, hips, buttocks and lift her pants and underwear to look down her pants. She stated this abuse occurred at East Goshen Park and three times at her home. In September or October 2019, Ray picked her up and touched her inappropriately by rubbing her body and private parts and he pulled down her clothes while at their basketball practice. She stated that when several of the assaults occurred, Ray had his phone out, and she believed he was taking a photo of her while she was exposed.
On May 2, 2023, child victim #3, who was 15 years old, came into the Radnor Township Police Station for an interview. In September 2022, the victim received private basketball lessons from the defendant at her school when it was not in session on Saturdays. Starting in 2023, when the victim was 15 years old, Ray became more hands-on and would stretch her by touching her hips and groin behind closed doors on multiple occasions.
Child victim #3 stated that Ray placed his hands under her basketball shorts and rubbed her hip and groin multiple times during each training session in the weight room at her school. She reported that it occurred at least four times before she told her mother.
The Chester County Detectives, Philadelphia Detectives, Schuylkill Township Police and Radnor Township Police Department are investigating this case. Senior Deputy District Attorney Erin O’Brien is the assigned prosecutor.
The PA Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC) provides personnel and funding for investigations related to the exploitation of children on the Internet. ICAC is funded through a grant from the Office of Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Prevention, based in Washington, DC. The ICAC Task Force comprises investigators from Chester County Detectives and local municipalities in Chester County.
Information, a criminal complaint, or an arrest is not a declaration of guilt. A suspect, arrestee, or defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
For the latest news on everything happening in Chester County and the surrounding area, be sure to follow MyChesCo on Google News.