(WASHINGTON) — One of the nation’s best-known swim coaches, famous for training Olympic athletes and thousands of other young hopefuls, pleaded guilty in a Maryland courtroom this week to sexually abusing a 13-year-old swimmer in the 1980s, the latest blow to the sport since ABC News broke news of a swim coach sex abuse scandal on 20/20.
Rick Curl, 63, from Washington, D.C.’s Virginia suburbs, admitted to one count of child sex abuse and faces up to 15 years in prison when he’s sentenced on May 23. He will also be required to register as a sex offender.
The charge was brought last October when victim Kelley Currin, now in her 40s, came forward after learning Curl was still coaching young swimmers. Her parents had discovered the abuse in 1987 after reading her diary. Curl paid them $150,000 in return for their silence, according to a formerly confidential settlement agreement.
Curl was previously added to the “Banned For Life” list maintained by USA Swimming, the sport’s national governing body. USA Swimming first made the list public after the 20/20 investigation revealed that 36 coaches were on it. There are now 78 individuals on the list, permanently banned from coaching or working at a USA Swimming-sanctioned club.
Earlier this month, USA Swimming released its inaugural “Safe Sport Handbook” for distribution to thousands of sanctioned swim clubs across the country. The book, designed to help clubs implement safe sport practices in their communities, comes from the USA Swimming Safe Sport Committee that was launched following the repeated reports of sexual abuse of swimmers.
USA Swimming did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but in the past has said it has committed its resources over the past two years to ensuring safe sport programming at the local level.
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