Swim coach Curl gets seven years for sexual abuse

Hall of Fame swimming coach Rick Curl was sentenced to seven years in prison on Thursday for sexually abusing one of the girls he had coached, the AP reported. 

The abuse of then 13-year-old Kelley Davies Currin took place over a four-year period during the 1980s, and it was only last year that the allegations became public. The abuse occurred in hotel rooms, Curl’s school office, or their respective homes, the AP wrote.

Curl ran a prominent swim club in the Washington area, and he coached 1996 and 2000 Olympic gold medalist Tom Dolan.

In a Maryland courtroom filled with his supporters, the former coach told Currin, “Every day of my life has been spent thinking and feeling awful about my behavior.”

Prosecutors said that Curl told Currin he loved her and would eventually marry her, despite the fact that he was engaged to another woman.

With Curl sentenced, Currin, in a report from the New York Times, claimed that she wanted three other U.S. coaches investigated for their failure to act. She described them as “predator coaches.” 

“I have no confidence whatsoever that USA Swimming will protect swimmers from sex abuse,” Currin said. “Its leaders have been given ample opportunity to prove to the country that they are able to put the interests of swimmers ahead of their own. They have failed and failed in the worst ways.”

According to Currin, USA Swimming executive director Chuck Wielgus, technical vice president David Berkoff and Olympic coach Mark Schubert, all knew of the relationship before USA Swimming conducted its own investigation in 2011. 

"While I was battling demons from the childhood molestation, Wielgus, Berkoff and Coach Schubert contributed to the glorification of Rick Curl by allowing him to coach at one of the most prestigious swim centers in the country for almost two decades, supporting his induction into the swimming Hall of Fame, and providing him with center-stage status at the 2012 Olympic trials," she said in a statement. 

Currin's parents first learned of the abuse when they came across their daughter's diary. They confronted Curl and sought legal counsel, but the lawyer advised against pursuing criminal charges. Instead, Curl paid the family $150,000 in 1989 to keep the allegations private. Currin said she regrets the initial agreement.  

Currin said the events at Penn State and the victims’ decisions to testify helped convince her to speak on her own behalf. 

For more, follow Mike Singer on Twitter @RealMikeSinger. 

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