(CNN) — Longtime coach Richard Callaghan was permanently banned from US Figure Skating after he was accused in a lawsuit of sexually abusing an underage figure skater.
The action comes after the US Center for SafeSport — the US Olympic Committee agency that has exclusive jurisdiction over allegations of sexual misconduct — said Callaghan was permanently ineligible to participate in any competition or activity having to do with the US Olympic Committee or the sport’s national governing body.
US Figure Skating embraced the sanction, effective Wednesday, ” he said on its site.
Before this month, Callaghan was accused of sexually abusing former US figure skater Adam Schmidt over the duration of two years, beginning when Schmidt was approximately 14 years of age. The abuse occurred while Callaghan was coaching Schmidt, the lawsuit alleged, and later at a contest in San Diego.
US Figure Skating previously declined to comment on the litigation, but said it”supports most of victims of sexual abuse and misconduct and encourages anyone that has been abused or suspects abuse or misconduct to instantly report it to law authorities, ” the U.S. Center for SafeSport or U.S. Figure Skating.”
The ice skating center said the claims in the lawsuit were”very severe” and”deserve a comprehensive investigation.” The facility stated it was first informed by news outlets and asks and had to receive the litigation.
The US Center for SafeSport previously suspended Callaghan at March 2018, following allegations that he made sexual advances as early as 1976.
In an email, Callaghan’s attorney, Dean Groulx, told CNN the ban declared a”sad day for US Olympic sports. A true giant in US figure skating is subject to a life ban without due procedure.”
Groulx blasted SafeSport, stating that the team”changed its guidelines in the middle of its evaluation of Richard Callaghan to execute what could only be characterized, in my opinion, as a witch hunt.”
Schmidt, now 34, is a former associate of the US National Figure Skating Team, his attorneys said.
“This announcement is a major success for all who’ve suffered abuses from the prior legend of figure skating, Mr. Callaghan,” Schmidt said in a statement Thursday. He went on to accuse US Figure Skating of producing a”culture of abuse that lasted decades and now will be the first of many victories to come in reversing that.”
And Schmidt’s attorney, John Manly, hailed the decision, telling CNN,”That should have been done in the 90’s. It’s good news but little comfort to those he hurt”
Figure skater Tara Lipinski was trained by callaghan to a gold medal in the 1998 Winter Olympics. In addition, he coached 1996 world champion Todd Eldredge.
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