A former USA National Team figure skater has filed a lawsuit alleging a coach sexually assaulted him on numerous occasions, including at a U.S. Figure Skating event in San Diego.
Attorneys from Manly, Stewart and Finaldi, the same firm that represented victims of former gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar, filed the lawsuit on behalf of skater Adam Schmidt in San Diego Superior Court.
The lawsuit alleges figure skating coach Richard Callaghan sexually molested Schmidt when the skater was only 14 years old while he was training with the U.S. National Team. The assaults, according to the lawsuit, began in 1999 while Schmidt trained under Callaghan at the Onyx Skating Academy in Macomb, Michigan.
The last known alleged abuse occurred in San Diego in 2001 during the Masters of Figure Skating competition.
“At this event, Callaghan saw Schmidt, still a minor of approximately 16 years old, and secluded and sexually abused him on the premises of where this event took place,” reads a statement from Schmidt’s attorneys. “Callaghan was not suspended from coaching until 2018, 19 years after the initial complaint.”
Last year, Callaghan, who coached former Olympic gold medalist Tara Lipinski, was suspended from the U.S. Figure Skating Committee over sexual misconduct allegations that were made by another skater, Craig Maurizi. Maurizi, who worked with Callaghan, accused him of sexual misconduct when Maurizi was just 15 years old. Maurizi’s allegations were first reported by the The New York Times.
“It is one more sad example of the culture of child abuse that is rampant in our Olympic sports programs,” said Schmidt’s attorney, John Manly.
“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. 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. The U.S. Figure Skating Association and the ice rinks where Callaghan worked ignored complaints against him for years. If they had done their legal duty in 1999 and reported Callaghan to the police, our client and other children could have been protected from this monster.”
In a statement to NBC 7, a spokesperson for the U.S. Figure Skating said the organization does not comment on pending litigation.
The statement added, “U.S Figure Skating 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.”