A former U.S. Olympic figure skating coach has been accused of sexually abusing one of his former students in the years after allegations from another athlete were ignored, according to a lawsuit reported by ABC News.
On Friday, former skater Adam Schmidt filed the suit in San Diego Superior Court claiming that Richard Callaghan abused him from 1999 to 2001, starting when he was 14. The suit also names U.S. Figure Skating and Onyx Ice Arena, a suburban Detroit skating facility where Schmidt practiced, as defendants.
Schmidt, now 34, alleges that Callaghan assaulted him “numerous” times in Michigan and also at the 2001 Masters of Figure Skating competition in California, after he had stopped training under the coach.
U.S. Figure Skating told HuffPost in a statement on Sunday that it “does not comment on threatened or pending litigation” but “fully supports all victims of sexual abuse and misconduct and encourages anyone who has been abused or suspects abuse or misconduct to immediately report it to local law enforcement, the U.S. Center for SafeSport or U.S. Figure Skating.”
“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,” Schmidt’s lawyer, John Manly, said in a press release, according to CNN. “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.”
As a result of the alleged abuse, Schmidt says he has experienced anxiety and depression. According to the lawsuit, he was hospitalized in January 2017 when he suffered a mental breakdown upon sharing his story with a therapist.
In 1999, Olympic coach Craig Maurizi filed a grievance with the figure skating federation alleging that he was abused by Callaghan from around 1977 to 1986, ABC reported. The document included the statements of several others who had either witnessed Callaghan’s abuse or has suffered it themselves. Maurizi says that his attempt to sound the alarm on Callaghan’s behavior was dismissed.
The year Maurizi’s claims surfaced, Callaghan, now 73, resigned after 27 years of coaching during which his students included 1998 Olympic gold medalist Tara Lipinski and Todd Eldredge, who competed three times in the Olympics and won six U.S. titles.