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Prominent swim coach Rick Curl charged with child abuse

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Local,Crime,Scott McCabe

Prominent Washington-area swim coach Rick Curl has been charged with sexual abuse of a child he coached more than 25 years ago.

The arrest comes several months after former pupil Kelley Davies Currin, now 43, came forward publicly with allegations that Curl, who founded of one of the most successful swimming clubs in the nation, sexually abused her beginning when she was 13 and he was 33.

Curl, 63, who was banned from USA Swimming last month, turned himself in to Montgomery County detectives Thursday morning. He was released after posting a bond of $50,000.

Robert Allard, Currin's attorney, said in a release that his client is "pleased that justice is going to be carried out against Mr. Curl."

But he also accused USA Swimming of a Penn State-like cover-up, claiming that USA Swimming knew of the allegations against Curl as early as the 1980s and did nothing about it.

Jamie Olsen, spokeswoman for USA Swimming, the national governing body for the sport of swimming, said she would not respond to Allard's "rhetoric."

She said the Colorado-based organization reported Curl's allegations to Montgomery Police on July 24, which it believes sparked the criminal investigation.

USA Swimming officials began investigating in April 2011 after receiving a tip from a former swimmer, Olsen said.

Montgomery County police said no other victims have come forward. While the alleged abuse occurred more than 25 years ago, there are no statute of limitation issues preventing charges against Curl, said Ramon Korionoff, spokesman for the Montgomery County prosecutor's office.

Curl, the founder of Curl-Burke Swim Club, one of the winningest swim clubs in the nation, and the producer of dozens of Olympians, including 15-year-old 2012 gold-medal-winner Katie Ledecky.

The abuse against Currin began with inappropriate touching when she was 13, and escalated into an inappropriate sexual relationship from age 15 to 18, police said.

The encounters occurred at Curl's former residences in Rockville and Darnestown and the swimming facilities at Georgetown Preparatory School on Rockville Pike in North Bethesda, police said.

According to a July story in the Washington Post, Curl paid Currin's parents $150,000 to keep from going public after they learned of the relationship in 1987 when they read her diary before she left for college on a swimming scholarship.

Currin told the Post that her parents received bad legal advice and regretted the settlement.

smccabe@washingtonexaminer.com

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