(CNN) — Longtime trainer Richard Callaghan has been permanently banned by 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 authority over allegations of sexual misconduct — said Callaghan was ineligible to participate in any contest or activity having to do with the US Olympic Committee or the sport’s national governing body.
The sanction, powerful Wednesday was embraced by US Figure Skating, ” he said on its site.
Earlier this past year, Callaghan was accused of sexually abusing US figure skater Adam Schmidt over the duration of two decades, starting when Schmidt was about 14 years old. The abuse occurred while Callaghan was the lawsuit alleged, coaching Schmidt, and later at a competition in San Diego.
US Figure Skating previously failed to comment on the litigation, but said it”supports all victims of sexual abuse and misconduct and supports anyone who has been mistreated or suspects abuse or misconduct to immediately report it to local law authorities, the U.S. Center for SafeSport or U.S. Figure Skating.”
The ice skating facility stated the claims in the lawsuit were”quite serious” and”deserve a thorough investigation.” The facility said it was initially informed of these claims by news outlets and requests for comment from journalists and had to obtain the litigation.
The US Center for SafeSport previously suspended Callaghan at March 2018, following allegations that he made sexual advances as soon as 1976.
Within an email, Callaghan’s lawyer, Dean Groulx, told CNN that the ban declared a”sad day for US Olympic sports. A true giant at US figure skating is subject to a life ban without due process.”
Groulx blasted SafeSport, stating that the group”altered its guidelines in the center of its investigation of Richard Callaghan to execute what can only be distinguished, in my estimation, as a witch hunt.”
Schmidt is a former associate of the US National Figure Skating Team, his lawyers said.
“This announcement is a significant victory for all who have suffered abuses by 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 which lasted decades and today will be the first of many victories to emerge in reversing this.”
And Schmidt’s lawyer, John Manly, hailed the decision, telling CNN,”It should have been done from the 90’s. It is fantastic news but small comfort to people he hurt.”
Figure skater Tara Lipinski was trained by callaghan to a gold medal at the 1998 Winter Olympics. He coached 1996 world champion Todd Eldredge.
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