Lawsuit alleges U.S. Figure Skating silenced sexual abuse accusations against coach

Jack Baer

A former competitive figure skater has filed a lawsuit alleging he was sexually abused by prominent coach Richard Callaghan shortly after U.S. Figure Skating dismissed sexual misconduct complaints against him, according to ABC News.

Adam Schmidt, previously known as Adam Badaani, reportedly claimed he was sexually assaulted repeatedly by Callaghan between 1999 and 2001 while training as a teenager. The lawsuit was filed against Callaghan, U.S. Figure Skating and Onyx Ice Arena.

Callaghan faced earlier sexual misconduct allegations

In the lawsuit, Schmidt reportedly alleged that U.S. Figure Skating failed to alert or protect him after Callaghan was accused of sexual misconduct by another skater in 1999.

Craig Maurizi went public against Callaghan with claims of sexual abuse from 1977 to 1986, telling The New York Times that Callaghan engaged in inappropriate sexual conduct when the skater was as young as 15.

Callaghan denied the claims and U.S. Figure Skating reportedly dismissed the grievance filed by Maurizi because of bylaws stipulating that misconduct must be reported within 60 days. Callaghan was allowed to continue coaching.

Schmidt claims Callaghan’s abuse also continued. Via ABC:

“[U.S. Figure Skating], knowing full well of the allegations of sexual misconduct, failed to investigate, failed to warn [Schmidt] of these prior bad acts, and did nothing to inhibit [Callaghan’s] access to minor children under his tutelage or those who were present at the events he attended,” the complaint said. “Despite this litany of sexual abuse and misconduct complaints made against [Callaghan], [Callaghan] remained in good-standing with [U.S. Figure Skating] until 2018.”

Schmidt reportedly said he only learned of Maurizi’s sexual abuse accusations against Callaghan last year in the wake of the Larry Nassar scandal.

Callaghan’s lawyer denied the accusations from Schmidt, telling ABC they were “100 percent false.”

Richard Callaghan (right) has coached star figure skaters such as Todd Eldredge (left) and Tara Lipinski (right). (Photo by Taro Yamasaki/The LIFE Images Collection via Getty Images/Getty Images)

Callaghan was still coaching figure skaters as recently as 2018, until Maurizi reportedly refiled his grievance with the U.S. Olympic Committee’s sexual misconduct watchdog. The coach has now been suspended for 18 months, as the investigation against him continues.

In response to a lawsuit that reportedly claims its bylaws “made it nearly impossible for sexual abuse claimants to bring effective complaints forward against perpetrators,” U.S. Figure Skating claimed to ABC it has since made positive changes:

U.S. Figure Skating issued a statement acknowledging that “Maurizi’s case prompted U.S. Figure Skating to examine its rules and procedures in the area of Athlete Safety” and insisting that the federation “has acted promptly on every incident reported to it of suspected sexual abuse or misconduct since the new policy was enacted in May 2000.”

“U.S. Figure Skating supports all victims of sexual abuse and encourages those who have been abused or suspect abuse to report it to local law enforcement, the U.S. Center for SafeSport and U.S. Figure Skating,” the statement reads. “U.S. Figure Skating has no record of receiving a report regarding the allegations brought forth to you by Mr. Schmidt. No allegations against Mr. Callaghan were reported prior to 1999. U.S. Figure Skating records reflect that Mr. Maurizi remains the only person to have reported allegations against Richard Callaghan to U.S. Figure Skating.”

Story drops a week after Ashley Wagner allegations

Schmidt’s accusations against Callahan are the second high-profile sexual misconduct case this month for U.S. Figure Skating.

Former Olympic medalist Ashley Wagner came forward last week with allegations that she was assaulted when she was 17 by deceased figure skater John Coughlin.

Coughlin, who committed suicide in Jan. 2019, has also been accused by his former partner of sexual misconduct when she was a teenager.

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