US Figure Skating To Pay $1.45 Million In Sexual Abuse Case

US Figure Skating To Pay $1.45 Million In Sexual Abuse Case

Just hours before the 2021 U.S. Figure Skating Championships were set to begin in Las Vegas, the attorney for a former skater said the sport’s national governing body agreed to pay $1.45 million to settle the skater’s lawsuit accusing the organization of being negligent in its duty to protect young athletes from sexual abuse.

Adam Schmidt, 36, a former skating student of suspended Olympic coach Richard Callaghan, alleged that he suffered “numerous sexual assaults” by the well-known coach when he trained with him as a teenager in the years after U.S. Figure Skating ignored or dismissed other allegations of sexual abuse against Callaghan, now 74, who coached Tara Lipinski to an Olympic gold medal in 1998.

The settlement and information about the lawsuit were first reported by ABC News.

“Adam is incredibly brave to have proceeded with this lawsuit against a huge organization like U.S. Figure Skating,” his attorney, John Manly, said in a phone interview Thursday.

“He is just the tip of the iceberg in this sport. These athletes should be treated like the treasures they are. They’re the best our country has to offer. Instead, they’re treated like a commodity in an organization that has a culture of sexual abuse that is stunning and despicable.”

Richard Callaghan, shown in 1997 working with Tara Lipinski, was banned by the U.S. Center for SafeSport in 2019.

In a statement, USFS said it “does not comment on litigation,” adding it “fully supports all victims of sexual abuse and misconduct.”

In addition to the USFS settlement, Schmidt previously reached a $1.75-million settlement from the Onyx Ice Arena in Detroit, where Callaghan coached him and where the alleged sexual abuse took place.

In July 2020, another of Callaghan’s former skating students, Craig Maurizi, sued Callaghan and USFS over alleged sexual abuse by Callaghan. Maurizi alleged that Callaghan engaged in inappropriate sexual conduct with him in 1976 when Maurizi was 13, and later initiated a full sexual relationship with Maurizi when he was 18.

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