U.S. figure skating officials on Wednesday permanently banned coach Richard Callaghan, who trained 1998 Olympic gold medalist Tara Lipinski and other legends of the sport. The ban follows a lawsuit from a former skater accusing Callaghan of serial sexual abuse, as well as previous sexual misconduct claims from another skater that officials initially dismissed.
In a statement released Wednesday, U.S. Figure Skating, the sport’s governing body, said it “has made Richard Callaghan permanently ineligible, in compliance with the policies and procedures of the U.S. Center for SafeSport,” citing “sexual misconduct involving [a] minor.”
Earlier this month, former skater Adam Schmidt sued Callaghan, U.S. Figure Skating, and the skating facility where he trained, alleging that Callaghan repeatedly sexually abused him from 1999 to 2001, beginning when Schmidt was 14 years old.
In 1999, Olympic figure skating coach Craig Maurizi alleged that Callaghan sexually abused him as a teenager, when he was Callaghan’s student. U.S. Figure Skating later dismissed Maurizi’s claim.
Taro Yamasaki via Getty Images Richard Callaghan (right), coaching 1998 Olympic gold medalist Tara Lipinski (center) and 1996 world champion Todd Eldredge (left).
At the time, at least two other former students also alleged sexual misconduct, according to The New York Times, including Callaghan exposing himself in a hotel room and making sexual remarks.
Callaghan, who has denied the allegations, was suspended from U.S. Figure Skating in 2018 after Maurizi filed a new report with the Center for SafeSport, which was established to combat sexual abuse in Olympic and Paralympic sports.
Schmidt’s attorney, John Manly, who has also represented survivors of former Olympic gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar’s serial sexual abuse, said Wednesday that the organization acted too late.
“You shouldn’t have to file a lawsuit to protect kids from child molesters in Olympic sports,” he told USA Today.
Need help? Visit RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Online Hotline or the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s website.
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