ROCKVILLE, Maryland, July 25. ACCORDING to an in-depth article in the Washington Post authored by Amy Shipley, USA Swimming has requested an emergency disciplinary hearing against Curl-Burke Swim Club founder Rick Curl after learning of allegations that he had sexual relations with a teenage swimmer, and then allegedly paid her and her family off as part of a non-disclosure agreement.
According to the article, Kelly Currin, whose maiden name is Kelley Davies, alleged to have begun sexual relations with Curl in 1983 when she was 13 and he was 33, and the relationship continued on for four years.
Shipley also wrote that “Currin said her parents, Gerald and Pamela Davies, learned of the alleged relationship when they read her diary soon before she left for the University of Texas on a swimming scholarship in 1987. She said they confronted Curl, but their attorney discouraged them from pursuing criminal action.”
The article also states that in 1989, six years after the relationship allegedly began, the Davies and Curl reached an agreement with Curl paying off the family with $150,000 throughout 11 years, with the family agreeing “not to press charges or speak publicly about (the situation)” and that “he was not admitting any liability in connection with the allegations.”
Curl refused comment when reached Tuesday night by The Post. The Post also reported that USA Swimming moved to take action on Friday after receiving a copy of the non-disclosure agreement. The Post also reported that a USA Swimming investigator first began questioning Currin and her parents two months ago as part of the process by which the organization acquires information to move forward with a National Board of Review. Monday night, USA Swimming began the National Board of Review process, and has invited Currin to testify.
Swimming World has confirmed that the process is taking place, and received the following statement in full from spokesperson Jamie Fabos Olsen:
USA Swimming was provided with information late Friday afternoon which enabled it to initiate the Board of Review process. We requested an expedited hearing on Monday and have invited the alleged victim to testify. We hope she will take part in this process, as reporting remains an integral part of the Safe Sport program.
In order to protect the integrity of the case, I cannot comment further on its details except to confirm that USA Swimming has initiated the process in place to deal with complaints of sexual misconduct. The reporting process is one element of USA Swimming's comprehensive Safe Sport program which includes efforts in each of six different areas: Polices & Guidelines, Screening & Selection, Training & Education, Monitoring & Supervision, Recognizing, Reporting, & Responding and Engagement & Feedback.
For more on USA Swimming's Safe Sport program, please visit www.usaswimming.org/protect.
Curl Burke Swim Club has also released a statement, explaining that Curl has taken a leave of absence:
Dear CUBU Families,Coaches, and Staff,
In response to the article that appeared in the Washington Post today, Rick Curl has decided to take a leave of absence effective immediately. Pete Morgan will assume the role of Head Coach of the Curl Burke Swim Club. In addition, Tom Ugast, Director of Operations at CUBU since 2010 will continue to process all management functions on a day to day basis.
Curl Burke Swim Club takes very seriously the health and well being of your children that swim for our Club. All of our coaches value the time they spend with the swimmers. As a Club we follow USA Swimming's “Safe Sport” program to help ensure the safety and well being of everyone involved in our sport.
In 2010, all of our head site coaches attended the first seminar put on by Potomac Valley Swimming in conjunction with USA Swimming to educate our coaches in athlete protection.
In 2011, under the new policies that were adopted by USA Swimming, Curl Burke adopted a program that includes a code of conduct for our coaches, training in athlete protection, and mandatory background checks of all coaches. We strive to create an atmosphere that is safe and nurturing to all of our swimmers.
This article is painful for our Club and Rick Curl personally. If you have any questions or concerns going forward, please contact Tom Ugast.
As reported by Swimming World in the past, an emergency hearing typically takes place fairly quickly and can result in an initial suspension of membership within USA Swimming. The organization then moves these cases into a full-blown National Board of Review process, that takes more than a month and includes a full 30-day appeal window before a former member can be added to USA Swimming's Banned for Life list publicly.
The Post also is reporting that the emergency review process could have some bumps in the road, as Currin's attorney reportedly told USA Swimming that Currin would not testify in the hearing, “questioning the legitimacy of the process and arguing that the (non-disclosure agreement) itself provided sufficient evidence for action to be taken.”
USA Swimming's attorney Rich Young, however, told The Post that “Currin's testimony could be critical to the case.”