Former male figure skater files suit against coach for alleged sexual abuse

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SAN DIEGO — A former Team USA figure skater has filed suit against the U.S. Figure Skating Association and skating coach Richard Callaghan for allegedly sexually abusing the skater between 1999 and 2001, including at a skating competition held in San Diego.

The suit, filed this week in San Diego County Superior Court, alleges that Callaghan sexually abused Adam Schmidt starting at the age of 14, even after reports surfaced alleging he had abused another skater.

Callaghan — perhaps best known for coaching Tara Lipinski to an Olympic gold medal in 1998 — was accused of molesting another former skater, then-15-year-old Craig Maurizi, in a 1999 New York Times article.

Schmidt alleges that figure skating officials brought the article’s allegations up for an internal review, but then dismissed the allegation “as it claimed the victim had not filed a formal written grievance within 60 days of the sexual misconduct perpetrated by (Callaghan).”

Schmidt claims this system “made it nearly impossible for sexual abuse claimants to bring effective complaints forward against perpetrators of sexual abuse and misconduct.”

As he remained in good standing with skating officials, Schmidt alleges that Callaghan was able to continue abusing him over the course of three years, including at the 2001 Master of Figure Skating competition held in San Diego, when Schmidt was 16.

Schmidt says the abuse has left him suffering from “psychological injuries and illnesses” as an adult, including a “psychological breakdown” and hospitalization in early 2017.

Schmidt’s attorney, John Manly, said “Our client is an extremely talented young athlete who dreamed of nothing more than to stand on an Olympic podium and hear our National Anthem. Instead, he had to stop competing in the sport he loved because of the sexual, physical and emotional damage done to him by his coach, Richard Callaghan.

The U.S. Figure Skating Association and the ice rinks where Callaghan worked ignored complaints around him for years. If they had done their legal duty in 1999 and reported Callaghan to the police, our client and other children could have been protected from this monster.”

Callaghan was suspended from coaching last March by the U.S. Center for SafeSport.

The lawsuit also names Onyx Ice Arena, a Detroit skating facility, as a defendant, as Callaghan was allegedly allowed to work with children there despite the allegations against him.

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