Former Washington, D.C., area swimming coach Rick Curl was sentenced to seven years in prison for child sexual abuse at a hearing Thursday that also featured a revelation from Curl's attorney that the University of Maryland knew about the abuse more than 25 years ago, reports the Washington Post. The sentencing in Montgomery County Circuit Court brought closure to a criminal case centered on Curl's five-year sexual abuse of a swimming pupil that began in the 1980s, but it also raised new questions about the University of Maryland's role in the decades-old case.
The victim, Kelley Currin, now 43, was 13 when the abuse began. She swam for the Curl-Burke Swim Club, one of the nation's largest such organizations, through which Curl, now 63, had guided athletes to Olympic gold medals. Currin's parents became aware of her sexual encounters with Curl in 1986 and confronted the coach, Thomas Kelly Jr., Curl's attorney, said at the sentencing hearing. They demanded that Curl sign a letter admitting he had had sex with their daughter. The letter was given to the athletic director at the University of Maryland, where, in 1987, Curl began coaching swimming and diving, in addition to his private coaching job. Kelly said in court that after U-Md. officials received the letter, they quietly pushed Curl out.