(MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md.) — A once-prominent swim coach who trained Olympic athletes and thousands of other young hopefuls was charged Thursday with abusing one of his teen swimmers 30 years ago.
It is the latest blow to USA Swimming, the sport’s national governing body, since ABC News broke news of a sexual abuse scandal within its ranks.
Rick Curl, 63, who founded Maryland’s Curl-Burke Swim Club in 1978, is alleged to have had a four-year sexual relationship with swimmer Kelley Davies beginning when she was 13 in 1983. When Davies’ parents discovered the relationship in 1987 by reading her diary, Curl paid them $150,000 in return for their silence, according to the terms of a 1989 settlement revealed by the Washington Post earlier this year.
“The sexual abuse progressed to an inappropriate sexual relationship,” the Montgomery County Police Department said in a statement. Curl has been charged with one count of child abuse, and surrendered to police Thursday.
Davies, now 43 and known by her married name, Kelley Currin, swam with Curl until she was 18 and is cooperating with the investigation. Her attorney Bob Allard, who has represented other victims, said she “is pleased that justice is going to be carried out.”
Curl’s lawyers, Thomas J. Kelly and Bruce L. Marcus, released a statement that said Curl is “a good man” and “a devoted father and husband.”
“When the allegations were made public,” said Kelly and Marcus, “many of the swimmers and their families reached out to us to offer their support and to reiterate that Rick was an excellent coach, a good person, and a man that provided them and their children with strong moral leadership. We look forward to having Mr. Curl’s positions made clear in the coming weeks.”
USA Swimming banned Curl for life in September. In a statement, USA Swimming said that it believed its report to the Montgomery County Police Department had “sparked the action” against Curl.
“USA Swimming’s Director of Safe Sport, Susan Woessner, reported the information USA Swimming received on Rick Curl to the Montgomery County PD on July 24, 2012 via phone, and via follow-up email,” said the statement. “USA Swimming has also completed its investigation and review process, which resulted in the organization permanently banning Rick Curl from USA Swimming membership on Sept. 18, 2012. “
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio