SafeSport bans figure skating coach Callaghan

Craig Maurizi said he felt vindicated Wednesday when he received word that his former figure skating coach, Richard Callaghan, was ruled permanently ineligible by the U.S. Center for SafeSport.

Callaghan was one of the nation's most high-profile figure skating coaches in the late 1990s, when he trained world champion Todd Eldredge and Olympic gold medalist Tara Lipinski, among others. He was banned this week from coaching in any future events sanctioned by U.S. Figure Skating for "sexual misconduct involving minor."

Maurizi, who first publicly alleged Callaghan's abuse in 1999, filed a formal complaint with the Center for SafeSport in January 2018.

"I'm not really happy, but I think the best word is I feel vindicated," Maurizi said Wednesday evening. "It's been a long time since I had the strength to go public. He is a monster who ruined the lives and careers of many skaters over the years."

Maurizi said at least a half-dozen former skaters reported to SafeSport investigators that Callaghan abused them. SafeSport is an independent organization responsible for adjudicating claims of abuse in all sports that fall under the purview of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee.

Maurizi first attempted to expose Callaghan's behavior two decades ago. He said then that Callaghan first started abusing him in 1976, when Maurizi was 13 years old, and then continued an inappropriate sexual relationship for more than a decade after Maurizi turned 18. Callaghan continued to coach and, according to allegations in a lawsuit filed earlier this month, abuse skaters up until at least 2002.

Adam Schmidt, a former Callaghan trainee, filed a civil suit in California this month alleging that Callaghan abused him repeatedly when he was a teenager, from 1999 through 2001. The lawsuit also names the U.S. Figure Skating organization as a defendant for not acting on the information Maurizi made public in 1999.

Callaghan, 73, has previously denied all allegations of abuse to other media outlets. He could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Callaghan remained a coach in good standing with U.S. Figure Skating through January 2018. At that time, Maurizi -- prodded by the public support for gymnasts who were disclosing abuse during the sentencing hearing of former Olympic team doctor Larry Nassar -- decided to try again to get Callaghan removed from the sport.

The Center for SafeSport suspended Callaghan in March 2018, after receiving Maurizi's report. It investigated for more than 18 months before producing a 266-page report this week that concluded that Callaghan violated SafeSport rules. The decision is subject to appeal.