(CNN) — Longtime trainer Richard Callaghan was permanently banned from US Figure Skating after he had been accused in a lawsuit of sexually abusing an underage figure skater.
The action comes after the US Center for SafeSport — the US Olympic Committee agency that has exclusive authority over allegations of sexual misconduct — stated Callaghan was permanently ineligible to participate in any competition or activity having to do with the US Olympic Committee or the sport’s national governing body.
The sanction, effective Wednesday was embraced by US Figure Skating, it said on its site.
Earlier this month, Callaghan was accused of sexually abusing former US figure skater Adam Schmidt over the course of two years, starting when Schmidt was about 14 years old. The abuse happened while Callaghan was later at a competition in San Diego, the suit alleged, and training Schmidt.
US Figure Skating previously failed to comment on the litigation, but said it”supports most sufferers of sexual abuse and misconduct and encourages anyone that has been abused or suspects abuse or misconduct to immediately report it to local law enforcement, the U.S. Center for SafeSport or U.S. Figure Skating.”
The ice skating center stated the claims in the lawsuit were”very serious” and”deserve a comprehensive investigation.” The facility stated it was informed of the claims by news outlets and requests and had to obtain the litigation.
The US Center for SafeSport suspended Callaghan at March 2018, following allegations he made sexual advances as early as 1976.
In an email, Callaghan’s lawyer, Dean Groulx, told CNN that the ban declared a”sad day for US Olympic sports. A true giant in US figure skating is subject to a life ban without due procedure.”
Groulx blasted SafeSport, stating that the group”changed its rules in the middle of its investigation of Richard Callaghan to execute what can only be characterized, in my opinion, as a witch hunt.”
Schmidt, now 34, is a former associate of the US National Figure Skating Team, his attorneys said.
“This statement is a significant success for all who have suffered abuses from the prior legend of figure skating, Mr. Callaghan,” Schmidt said in a statement Thursday. He went on to accuse US Figure Skating of making a”culture of abuse that lasted decades and today is the first of many successes to come in reversing this.”
And Schmidt’s lawyer, John Manly, hailed the decision, telling CNN,”This should have been done in the 90’s. It’s great news but small comfort to those he hurt.”
Callaghan coached figure skater Tara Lipinski into a gold medal. In addition, he coached 1996 world champion Todd Eldredge.

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