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Swim Coach Banned for Life in Sexual Abuse Case

USA Swimming banned coach Rick  Curl for life for an improper relationship with a teenage swimmer in  the 1980s. Curl, who ran one of the  nation's largest swim clubs near Washington, D.C., and coached 1996 and 2000  Olympic gold medalist Tom  Dolan, was scheduled for a hearing Wednesday before the National  Board of Review. But he informed the governing body he was waiving his right  to challenge the case. Curl voluntarily gave up his  membership and will be added to USA Swimming's list of banned individuals, which  is published on the organization Web site. The coach was accused of  starting a relationship with a 13-year-old female swimmer in the 1980s. Kelley  Davis Currin said she received a $150,000 settlement from Curl not to go to  law enforcement with details of the illicit four-year relationship, but decided  to come forward after the sport was rocked by a sexual abuse scandal two  years ago.

Dozens of coaches have been  involved in improper relationships with underage swimmers, prompting USA  Swimming to launch a new safe sport program that includes mandatory training and  enhanced criminal background checks for all non-athlete members. Critics say the  sport still promotes a culture of secrecy and has demanded that the top  leadership be replaced, including executive director Chuck  Wielgus.The Curl-Burke  Swim Club had 10 sites in the Washington area, but Curl is no longer  associated with it. The club issued a news release Tuesday saying it had changed  its name to Nation's Capital  Swim Club, according to media reports.Currin was notified of the  decision to ban him in a letter from Susan  Woessner, director of safe sport for USA Swimming."I want to thank you for your  courage in coming forward and speaking out," Woessner wrote. "Your willingness  to share your story is now holding Rick accountable after all these years. Thank  you, Kelley. I have endless gratitude."Currin issued a statement  through her attorney, Robert  Allard."I am happy to hear that Rick  Curl may finally be starting to accept responsibility for what he did to me,"  she said. "I can now only hope that USA Swimming will accept responsibility for  refusing to ban Rick Curl when they had knowledge to do so."As part of a separate lawsuit  filed Monday, Allard claims former national team coach Mark  Schubert knew of the case for years and tried, without success, to get USA  Swimming to investigate.Allard called Curl "the  proverbial Jerry  Sandusky within this organization," referring to the former Penn State  football coach awaiting a likely life sentence for sexually abusing  underage boys."The fact that Mr. Curl has now  been permanently banned from USA membership is only the first of what we hope  are many steps, including imprisonment, which will be taken against him to  ensure that justice is served for the heinous acts committed upon my client when  she was just a child," Allard said."Similar to Penn State  immediately moving to rid itself of those who knew and did nothing, we are not  going to stop until the same is done at USA Swimming, starting with Mr.  Wielgus," the attorney added. He also called for the firing of technical vice  president David  Berkoff, saying he "has admitted to knowing all about Mr. Curl going back to  the early 1990s and failed to take effective action to protect  young swimmers."PAUL NEWBERRY, AP Sports Writer

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