US Figure Skating has banned longtime coach Richard Callaghan after sexual abuse allegations
(CNN) — Longtime trainer Richard Callaghan was permanently banned by US Figure Skating afterwards he was accused in a lawsuit of sexually abusing an underage figure skater.
The action comes after the US Center for SafeSport — the US Olympic Committee agency which has exclusive authority over allegations of sexual misconduct — stated Callaghan was ineligible to participate in any contest or action having to do with the US Olympic Committee or the sport’s national governing body.
The sanction, powerful Wednesday was adopted by US Figure Skating, it said on its site.
Earlier this past year, Callaghan was accused of sexually abusing US figure skater Adam Schmidt over the course of two decades, starting when Schmidt was approximately 14 years old. The abuse occurred while Callaghan was training Schmidt, the lawsuit and afterwards at a contest in San Diego.
US Figure Skating formerly failed to comment on the litigation, but said it”supports all sufferers of sexual abuse and misconduct and supports anyone that has been abused or suspects abuse or misconduct to immediately report it to local law enforcement, the U.S. Center for SafeSport or U.S. Figure Skating.”
The ice skating center said the asserts in the suit were”quite serious” and”deserve a comprehensive investigation.” The facility stated it was notified by news outlets and requests for comment from journalists and had to get the lawsuit.
The US Center for SafeSport previously suspended Callaghan in March 2018, after allegations that he made sexual advances as soon as 1976.
In an email, Callaghan’s attorney, Dean Groulx, told CNN that the ban declared a”sad day for US Olympic sports. A real giant in US figure skating is subject to a life ban without due procedure.”
Groulx blasted SafeSport, stating that the group”changed its principles in the center of its investigation of Richard Callaghan to execute what could only be distinguished, in my opinion, as a witch hunt.”
Schmidt is a former member of the US National Figure Skating Team, his lawyers said.
“This statement is a significant success for all who have suffered abuses by the former legend of figure skating, Mr. Callaghan,” Schmidt said in a statement Thursday. He proceeded to accuse US Figure Skating of creating a”culture of abuse that lasted decades and today is the first of many successes to come in reversing that.”
And Schmidt’s lawyer, John Manly, hailed the decision, telling CNN,”It should’ve been completed from the 90’s. It’s great news but small comfort to people he hurt.”
Callaghan trained figure skater Tara Lipinski at the 1998 Winter Olympics into a gold medal. In addition, he coached 1996 world champion Todd Eldredge.