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Investigators Look Into Old Case

8:17 PM, Jul 27, 2012   |    comments
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WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA) -- No one is coming to the door at the $1.5 million dollar Vienna home of the DC area's top Olympic swim coach.

One of Rick Curl's best swimmers from nearly a quarter century ago has gone public with allegations that he sexually abused her over the course of years starting when she was 13 and he was 33. 

Sources say Montgomery County Police are listening to Kelley Currin's allegations against Curl, who took a sudden leave of absence from the hugely popular Curl-Burke Swim Clubs.

It's unclear if he'll be barred from the Olympics in London, which open Friday.

Kelley Currin is 43 now -- but she's says Rick Curl started grooming her for sexual abuse when she was just 12 and a half  -- and he was in his 30's.

Montgomery County Police Capt. Paul Starks says investigators have successfully brought very old and very cold cases against suspects in the past, but declined to discuss this case specifically.

More than two decades ago, the young swimmer agreed to keep quiet about the molestation as part of a 150-thousand dollar settlement. But she says she can no longer remain silent.

"This guy should be in jail and not center stage at the Olympics," Currin told me by phone from Texas. Currin says it was the lead up to the Olympics that finally led her to speak out. "That's where he was: front and center at the Olympic trials. And that was it for me."

USA Swimming has now initiated an emergency hearing on the allegations against Rick Curl and could suspend his membership.
The coach allegedly performed oral sex on Currin was she was his 13 year old swimmer in the Georgetown Prep pool. By 14, he allegedly had sexual intercourse with her in an office at the school.

"In my 14 year old mind... I loved him.... He could have told me to do anything, because I trusted him."

Currin fears there may be other young victims. "The coach athlete relationship is sacred. Especially to a pre-prepubescent girl."

This is far from the first time elite swim coaches have been accused of molesting their young athletes. Psychiatrist Toni Baum helped set up USA Swimming's new guidelines to protect swimmers after a scandal in 2010. "Supposedly that's mythology, the scantily clad aspect of it. But it seems to me you have bodies working closely.... And sports is body focused."

Currin dreamed of competing in the Olympics. But she suspects the abuse may have cost her her dreams. "There's no telling what I could have been."

Curl hung up on the Washington Post reporter who broke this story.

Written and Reported by Bruce Leshan
9News Now & wusa9.com
Twitter: @BruceLeshan

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