More than 20 years ago, 13-year-old Kelley Currin was a young swimmer in training with hopes to someday make it to the Olympic games. But her renowned swim coach, who had trained other elite athletes to victory, was sexually abusing her. Kelley's parents found out about the abuse from reading her diary. Coach Rick Curl ended up paying the Currins $150,000 to stay quiet about it.
And Kelley did keep quiet -- until she heard that Curl was coaching young swimmers again. In October 2012 she brought charges against her former coach. And today, Rick Curl was found guilty of one count child sexual abuse. He'll have to register as a sex offender, and he faces up to 15 years in jail. Better late than never, right?
Rick Curl is 63 years old now, so whatever his sentence, his career is over. More importantly, he'll never get to victimize another young swimmer again. It's taken 26 years, but this conviction will stop a child predator.
Back when Kelley was a 13-year-old victim, it would have been hard for her to oppose her parents and insist on pressing charges. I'm sure she was terrified. It's easy to judge her parents -- I admit, I'm squirming at the implication that they took a bribe to cover for the man who molested their daughter. Who would choose money over justice for their child?
But they must have had Kelley's privacy in mind, too. If they had pressed charges, her identity as the victim may have been revealed, and that could be just as devastating to a teenage girl as the abuse itself. Personally, I think it's still better to press charges, but I understand their decision.
I'm glad Kelley came forward to protect potential victims. Curl had been on USA Swimming's "Banned for Life" list, but apparently that hadn't kept him from coaching -- yikes! There are 78 other coaches on that banned list and you have to wonder if they're still coaching anyway, too.
Do you think it's ever a good idea for parents not to press charges for a crime committed against their child?
Image via Montgomery County Police Department