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US Figure Skating reaches $1.45 million settlement over sex abuse allegations

Posted at 4:35 PM, Jan 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-15 20:24:55-05

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - U.S. Figure Skating has agreed to pay $1.45 million to a former Team USA skater who alleged in a lawsuit filed in San Diego that he was sexually abused by skating coach Richard Callaghan over the course of several years.

The suit alleged Callaghan sexually abused Adam Schmidt starting when Schmidt was 14 years old, and was allowed to keep coaching Schmidt even after reports surfaced that he had abused another skater.

Schmidt alleged Callaghan abused him repeatedly between 1999 and 2001, according to the suit filed in 2019 in San Diego Superior Court. Schmidt also previously reached a $1.75 million settlement with Onyx Ice Arena, a skating facility in Michigan where Callaghan allegedly abused him.

RELATED: Former male figure skater alleges coach sexually abused him at San Diego competition

In a statement, USA Figure Skating declined to comment on the settlement, which was reached without admission of liability or wrongdoing.

"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," the statement said.

Schmidt told ABC News the settlement "speaks for itself. People don't settle things for millions of dollars for nothing."

Callaghan -- perhaps best known for coaching Tara Lipinski to an Olympic gold medal in 1998 -- was accused of molesting another former skater, then-15-year-old Craig Maurizi, as reported in a 1999 New York Times article.

Schmidt alleged that figure skating officials brought the article's allegations up for an internal review, but then dismissed the allegation "as it claimed the victim had not filed a formal written grievance within 60 days of the sexual misconduct perpetrated by (Callaghan)."

Schmidt claims this system "made it nearly impossible for sexual abuse claimants to bring effective complaints forward against perpetrators of sexual abuse and misconduct."

As he remained in good standing with skating officials, Schmidt alleges that Callaghan was able to continue abusing him over the course of three years, leaving him suffering from "psychological injuries and illnesses" as an adult, including a "psychological breakdown" and hospitalization in early 2017.

Callaghan was suspended from coaching three years ago by the U.S. Center for SafeSport, but that ban was lifted by an arbitrator and a three-year suspension was imposed instead, making him eligible to coach again in 2022, according to ABC News.