A top United States figure skating coach has been suspended nearly two decades after his male students first raised sexual misconduct allegations against him.
The U.S. Figure Skating committee and the U.S. Olympic Committee’s misconduct watchdog group — the U.S. Center for SafeSport — added renowned coach Richard Callaghan to a roster alongside dozens of banned and suspended members late Wednesday night, ABC reported.
The suspension is pending a new investigation of misconduct allegations raised 19 years ago.
The U.S. Center for SafeSport deferred comment to U.S. Figure Skating, which did not immediately return requests for an interview. A spokesperson for the watchdog organization did note they always report matters involving minors to law enforcement.
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Best known for coaching Tara Lipinski to an Olympic gold in 1998 as well as a slew of other national and world titles, Callaghan earlier this week was listed as a coach with the Florida Everglades Skating Club.
His information has since been removed for the club’s website.
Callaghan kicked off his career as a professional skater in 1967, touring with the Ice Capades and Holiday on Ice before transitioning to coaching just five years later. He worked in Rochester, Philadelphia, Colorado Springs and San Diego before landing in Detroit in 1992.
Callaghan also served as the longtime coach for Todd Eldredge, the 1996 world champion and a six time U.S. national champion.
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The coach announced his resignation from the Detroit Skating Club in 1999, saying he would retire to Florida at the end of the season.
The same year, The New York Times published a bombshell report in which one of his former students, Craig Maurizi, alleged Callaghan engaged in inappropriate sexual activity with him when he was just 15 years old.
The skater, now 56 and an Olympic coach himself, claimed Callaghan used his position of authority to manipulate him into a sexual relationship throughout his teen years. It continued until he was 22 and then on and off for the next 12 years, Maurizi said.
“At the time I thought the sex was consensual. Now, when I look back, I don’t think it was consensual,” he told the times in April 1999. “I don’t care how old a student is, whether it’s a boy or a girl, a coach should never have sex with a student.
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“The coach is a person the athlete looks up to for leadership and to be a role model. I don’t think people understand the influence they can exert over students. People need to be more aware of this.”
He filed a sexual misconduct complaint against Callaghan in March 1999, but it was dismissed several months later. The USFS, then referred to as the U.S. Figure Skating Association, ruled Maurizi had not lodged his accusations within 60 days of the alleged wrong-doing as is required by the national governing board.
Two other skaters and students of Callaghan’s also said they experienced inappropriate behavior from their coach. Eddy Zeidler told the Times Callaghan exposed himself to him in a hotel room in 1992 while Roman Fraden alleged his coach made inappropriate sexual remarks to him two years later.
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