(Note: The original headline over this post referred to the Carlile Swim School and Rick Curl as “business partners.” The headline was changed on information sent to this blog by Tim Ford, the CEO of Carlile. See https://concussioninc.net/?p=5968.)
by Irvin Muchnick
Three top officials of the Carlile Swim School in Sydney, Australia, where sex-abusing American coach Rick Curl lived and worked for several years, are the speakers this coming Wednesday at the featured event of the SwimAmerica Conference at the annual world clinic of the American Swimming Coaches Association (ASCA) in Las Vegas.
Dave Dubois, head of learning and development at Carlile, and directors John Coutts and Richard Cahalan will be leading the seminar at the Riviera Hotel, where the cost of admission is $400. The promotional materials note that Carlile’s program is internationally renowned for operating a swimming class system in which “Million Dollar Mondays are the rule.” The phrase refers to the gross daily fees for instructional sessions.
Two weeks after the ASCA clinic, Rick Curl’s serial rapes of his swimmer Kelley Davies, beginning in 1983 when she was 13 years old, will be the subject of a disciplinary board hearing by USA Swimming. An “emergency hearing” of the panel, originally scheduled during the Summer Olympics, was canceled when Curl accepted what USA Swimming calls a “provisional suspension.”
Curl, who has coached the national team and developed numerous Olympic swimmers, has been both an ASCA Coach of the Year and the organization’s president.
In addition, he was affiliated with the Carlile club from late 2004 until early 2009. During that period, Curl lived in Manly, just north of Sydney.
According to published reports, Curl’s work in Australia focused on learning Carlile’s swim-class organization and methods, which he then incorporated into the practices of his Washington, D.C.-based Curl-Burke Swim Club.
The story of Curl’s long-term abuse of Kelley Davies (now Kelley Currin) has circulated inside the swimming world for many years. Former Olympian and current USA Swimming vice president David Berkoff said in a 2010 email: “Denying knowledge of Rick Curl, Mitch Ivey and others banging their swimmers! It’s a flat out lie. They knew about it because we (coaches and athletes) were all talking about it in the late 1980′s and early 1990′s…. I was told Rick Curl was molesting Kelly Davies for years starting when she was 12 by some of the Texas guys….”
Curl was fired as swimming coach at the University of Maryland in 1988, after only one season there.
When he first moved to Australia, and especially after the publication by The Washington Post this July of a 1989 agreement by which Curl paid $150,000 to Kelley Davies’ family in return for their silence about his molestations of her, speculation has focused on whether Curl’s move abroad coincided with a plan to escape American justice for allegations of sex abuse.
In a May 2010 deposition in one of the current civil lawsuits against USA Swimming by victims of coaches’ sexual misconduct, the organization’s executive director, Chuck Wielgus, was asked if he knew why the University of Maryland had fired Curl. Wielgus said under oath, “I never even knew he worked at the University of Maryland.”
Wielgus also swore, “I have never received any information about that,” when asked, “Did you ever get any information about him having an inappropriate sexual contact with one of his swimmers?”
Asked whether he was aware of any settlement Curl had made with an alleged victim, Wielgus stated: “As I have — I have heard, just within the past three to four weeks, that there was some sort of a settlement between Rick Curl and a victim or a victim’s family. And that’s the first I heard of that.”
Wielgus said he did not know why Curl had moved to Australia.
In a message to Dubois, Coutts, and Cahalan, sent through the email form at the Carlile website, I requested details of the business relationship between Carlile and Curl and of the circumstances of his Australian residency. The message has not been returned.
Last month John Leonard, executive director of ASCA, defended his organization’s failure to be more active in reporting pedophile coaches by saying, “We do not have an organization that deals directly with children, nor is that part of our purpose in any way, shape or form.”
ASCA and USA Swimming have broad crossovers in board of directors and leadership positions. Richard Shoulberg, current president of ASCA, is also chair of USA Swimming’s Steering Committee – whose meeting in Tuesday is listed in an online schedule for the ASCA program.
Irvin Muchnick (https://concussioninc.net) is author of the April ebook PENN STATE IN THE POOL: The Cover-Up of the USA Swimming Youth Coach Sex Abuse Scandal.