Demonising Justin Gatlin
13th September 2015
US Figure Skating has sanctioned figure skating coach Richard Callaghan with a lifetime ban, after the US Center for SafeSport found him guilty of sexual misconduct involving a minor. Callaghan was accused of sexual misconduct by a former student of his, Craig Maurizi, in 1999. ‘Since May 2000, we have acted upon every reported incident of suspected sexual abuse’, read a 12 August statement from US Figure Skating, which outlined measures it has taken to protect athletes since Maurizi’s case.
Maurizi filed a complaint with US Figure Skating later in 1999, which it dismissed by citing a bylaw stipulating that sexual misconduct charges must be filed within 60 days from when an incident is alleged to have occurred, reported ABC News. Maurizi’s complaint dated from 1977.
US Figure Skating defended itself against allegations that it had made Maurizi ‘an offer’ designed to silence him at the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics. ‘The meeting in February 2018 during the Olympic Winter Games in Korea was requested by Mr. Maurizi and its purpose was for Mr. Maurizi to hear in person an update from U.S. Figure Skating leadership regarding U.S. Figure Skating’s history and initiatives with respect to athlete safety, and for U.S. Figure Skating to listen to any issues he wanted to discuss with U.S. Figure Skating’, read a statement. ‘There was never any intent or attempt to silence Mr. Maurizi from telling his story to the media. In fact, Mr. Maurizi’s story has been public since 1999 when Mr. Maurizi first told his story to the New York Times and other media outlets. U.S. Figure Skating supported Mr. Maurizi coming forward to tell his story to the U.S. Center for SafeSport.’
In April last year. Maurizi gave evidence to the US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation about the frustration he felt at what he viewed as US Figure Skating’s failure to effectively deal with his complaint. ‘In my case, the abuse began nearly 40 years ago when I was 13, I reported it to my sport’s governing body, The US Figure Skating Association, nearly 20 years ago’, he writes in his testimony (PDF below). ‘And my abuser was suspended from coaching less than two months ago’.
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