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Skating Is Familiar With Scandal. But Now It is Confronting Something More Grim.

Skating Is Familiar With Scandal. But Now It is Confronting Something More Grim.


In 1999, in an investigative report in The New York Times, Maurizi accused a former coaching colleague, Richard Callaghan, of engaging in inappropriate sexual conduct with Maurizi when Maurizi was 15 and a skating student of Callaghan’s. Later, Maurizi said, Callaghan abused his position of authority to initiate a full sexual relationship when Maurizi was 18 that lasted, on and off, for years.

Callaghan, who with Maurizi assisting, coached Tara Lipinski to an Olympic gold medal in 1998, vehemently denied in the Times story that he had ever had sex with Maurizi or that he had engaged in improper behavior.

Maurizi filed a complaint with U.S. Figure Skating in 1999, but it was dismissed because it had not been filed within the required 60 days of the alleged improper conduct. On Jan. 31, 2018, Maurizi refiled his grievance, this time with SafeSport, which gave Callaghan a provisional suspension in March 2018. At the time of the suspension, Callaghan told ABC News: “That’s 19 or 20 years ago. I have nothing to say.’’

Meanwhile, it is now nearly a year after Maurizi’s complaint was resubmitted, but the case has yet to be fully resolved.

“Are they dragging their feet?” Maurizi said of SafeSport. “Absolutely.”

SafeSport says it resolves cases as quickly as possible, but acknowledges a backlog from being underfunded and understaffed. A three-year grant from the Justice Department, worth $2.2 million, is intended for education and prevention programs and can not be used to reduce the case backlog or hire investigators, Hill said.

Maurizi, whose wife, Tara Modlin, was Coughlin’s agent, also questioned whether due process was being fairly granted to all parties in cases investigated by SafeSport. “It’s such mixed emotions and mixed feelings, given the situation with my friend who felt he didn’t have due process and was not given an opportunity to voice his side,” Maurizi said of Coughlin.

An interim suspension is not a final disposition of a case but a step taken to prevent possible further harm to athletes until an investigation is concluded, said Hill, the SafeSport spokesman.



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