The USA Swimming team has requested a disciplinary hearing after USA Swimming member Rick Curl was accused of sexual abuse against swimmer Kelly Currin, starting when she was 13 and continuing for 3 years. Rick Curl is cofounder of the Curl-Burke Swim Club, from which he has taken a leave of absence starting Wednesday.
The Washington Post broke the story, and revealed documents which prove that Kelly Currin and her family were paid $150,000 to remain silent on the issue.
“I was stifled for 23 years from saying anything because I signed a piece of paper when I was 19,” Currin, now 43, told The Post. Though the alleged molestation stopped in 1986, the settlement agreement wasn’t signed until 1989. “Now, I’ve gotten to the point in my life where I’m done being quiet about it… It was a crime, what happened.”
The post goes on to explain that Currin’s parents discovered her abuse after reading her a diary she left behind when she left for her Freshman year of college at the University of Texas. They confronted the coach, but were advised by an attorney not to press charges.
Curl has continued to coach in the 23 years since settling with Currin, even coaching top Olympians:
Curl, who coached Tom Dolan to three medals in the 1996 and 2000 Olympics, attended last month’s U.S. Olympic trials in Omaha on a coaching credential. His Curl-Burke Swim Club, founded in 1978, is one of the largest in the country, with 950 swimmers among its 10 sites in the Washington area.
Although one has to wonder whether the Penn State sex abuse scandal played a part in encouraging Currin to come forward, her story is of a different type of abuse, but one that is also very common. The nature of the abuse, as Currin explains, was that of a “love affair” that Curl used in order to manipulate the 13 year-old. The Washington Post explains the ways in which Curl allegedly “romanced” his victim into believing it was a truly mutual relationship, despite him being 20 years her senior:
Currin said she would sneak with Curl into an office at Georgetown Prep after practices, where kissing turned into oral sex and sexual intercourse in a bathroom inside the office. She said Curl told her she was “special” and, on a number of occasions: “Don’t worry, if we get caught, I’ll take half of the blame.”
“By the time I was 14, in my little 14-year-old brain, it was very much a love affair,” she said. “I loved him. . . . Any problem I had, he would fix it.”
This speaks to the complicated nature of many sexual abuse situations, wherein the victim is manipulated into believing he or she has a lot of control over the relationship, and that it is really true love. When the victim is convinced she is a full participant in the relationship, he or she is given a very solid reason to keep silent as the child believes he or she deserves “half of the blame”.
Sexual abuse is often portrayed as violent and forceful, and it very much can be, but the Curl/Currin case speaks to a different type, something very insidious but with equal power to cause damage to a child, and something all of us who are parents should be aware of.
For the full story, visit The Washington Post
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