Skating Coach Accused of Misconduct
Apr. 13, 1999
A former student and colleague of Richard Callaghan asked the U.S. Figure Skating Association and the Professional Skaters Association on Tuesday to look into his accusations of sexual misconduct and exploitation.
The USFSA and the PSA received complaints from Craig Maurizi. The PSA has 20 days and the USFSA 30 to decide what to do with the complaints.
``We need an incredible amount of legal documentation ... and that's why our rules are very clear there are 30 days of review to make sure our direction is the proper one,'' said USFSA president Jim Disbrow, who hasn't yet seen the complaint. ``There will be an answer, a definite answer, to where we will be moving at that time.''
Callaghan, who coached Tara Lipinski to the gold medal last year in the Nagano Olympics, was not notified of the complaints, nor will he be before a decision is made, said Dean Groulx, his lawyer. Callaghan, who was ``shocked and dismayed'' by the accusations, has vehemently denied them.
``We are confident that when the chair of the grievance committee reviews the allegations, it will find the grievance lacks merit and will take the appropriate action,'' Groulx said.
In a story first published Sunday in The New York Times, Maurizi said Callaghan, who also coached Todd Eldredge to five national championships and a world crown, made improper advances to him when he was 15. Maurizi, now 36, said Callaghan abused his authority three years later to initiate a full sexual relationship, which continued for four years.
The Times story also contained allegations from two other former students, who claim Callaghan made inappropriate remarks or gestures to them.
``I've decided I'm not going to be granting any further interviews for the indefinite future,'' Maurizi said. ``This story is getting a little bit out of hand for me, and I haven't been spending a whole heck of a lot of time with my family in the last few days. I want to slow things down for myself and my family, and get a little normalcy back.''
Both complaints will go to a grievance committee chairperson, who decides whether any rule has been violated and evaluates the timeliness of the complaint. If the chair decides there is merit, a panel is formed to investigate and make a ruling.
In the USFSA, the panel would consist of three to nine people who represent the organization, including athletes, coaches and judges, USFSA spokesman Bob Dunlop said. In the PSA, it's a three-person panel, PSA president Jerry Lane said.
The grievance panel would also be responsible for deciding what, if any, punishment is warranted.
``It's way too early to even jump to any conclusions,'' Dunlop said. ``It just came in a couple of hours ago. Physically, it hasn't had enough time to get to anybody.''
This is the first time anyone _ including Maurizi _ has filed a formal complaint against Callaghan. Maurizi continued working with him after their alleged relationship ended, coaching with him in San Diego and Detroit.
Maurizi was Callaghan's assistant at the Detroit Skating Club until last year, when they split after Lipinski left Callaghan and decided to train with Maurizi.
``Obviously, it's kind of put a cloud over the club at this point,'' said Jo Anne Berry, a board member at the Detroit Skating Club. ``You can kind of walk through the lobby and you can feel the tenseness, but we are trying to deal with it the best way we can.''