Below is the full text of remarks Kelley Currin is delivering today at the Rick Curl sentencing hearing in Maryland Circuit Court. Curl pleaded guilty to a count of sexual abuse of a minor in his 1980s molestations of his swimmer, who was then named Kelley Davies, starting when she was 13 years old.
Later today we will post the statement Currin makes outside the courtroom.
This is my Victim Impact Statement. I have tried to sound eloquent, composed, and like the 43-year-old woman that I am, but I have gotten nowhere. It really isn’t the 43-year-old Kelley that needs to be heard. It’s the 14, 15, and 16-year-old Kelley that needs to talk. How can I sum up what happened over the course of several years into a few paragraphs? I am not sure if there is a proper way to say what I’m feeling … but I am just going to write from my heart.
I loved Rick Curl. I loved him. He was my hero. I have yet to this day to find someone who has impacted me as much as he did. He was the most important thing in my life for the majority of my teenage years, and I loved, trusted and cherished him as much as a young girl’s heart and mind could. There is absolutely nothing that I would not have done for him. The times that I was wounded physically and emotionally by Rick was simply part what I thought I needed to do to keep him in my life.
My first-ever real kiss was at the water fountain in the hall at Georgetown Prep after practice one day in March. Rick used his tongue. I had never done that before. I went home and sat at the dinner table eating with my family. The phone rang. It was Rick, and he told me he was “on cloud nine.” Things were never “normal” between us again. I was his “special” girl. I absolutely was head over heels crazy for my coach. In an instant, I became 100% dedicated to him and our relationship. I had never had someone pay me so much attention! From that point on, my life revolved around him.
We had special signs to each other before I would get up on the block. My success in the water was directly connected to him. I had to have him in my life or I would not be able to accomplish my goal of going to the Olympics. I remember telling a local paper, “He is the driver and I’m the horse.” My teammates would tease me daily about my relationship with him. The girls would ask me all the time why I got dressed so quickly and left the locker room. I needed to see Rick in his office. He had me captivated.
This really does not fit into any of what I’m writing right now, but I do wonder about one incident. We were in California. I was 15. I threw a piece of chewing gum up to the front of the van we were in. It hit Rick. He pulled the van over, and made me get out. Then he left. I was on a highway next to an orange grove. I remember thinking, “Oranges are good sugar. I am OK as long as I have oranges.” I sat by the road and waited. The van came back. That’s all I remember. About four months ago, I asked one of my former teammates if she remembered this, and yes, it happened.
Rick would tease me about my bottom. I had a habit of pulling my suit down over my bottom and he would see me and yell, “It’s not gonna fit.” Ohhhh, I wish I could say that I knew he was kidding and that it was all in good fun, but to this day, I am ashamed of my bottom.
When he became engaged to his wife, he broke the news to me before practice one day. He pulled me aside and told me not to worry because he would name his first daughter after me. That was my consolation. What grief and anguish I felt. Ashley Marie was born nine months after his wedding. I could tell no one! My parents took me to see Linda, Rick and the new baby in the hospital. It was very hard. At his wedding, I wore a pink dress and danced with him too long at the reception. I whispered in his ear, “I hate you.”
I would spend my lunch hours in high school hiding in the bathroom sitting in a toilet stall because I had no friends. I would sneak down the front hall to the pay phone, desperate to talk to him. He told me that I could not make it on my own and that I needed him. I completely agreed. He made me so happy. He took me out to expensive dinners; he bought me beautiful jewelry from Bailey, Banks and Biddle. He gave me new suits and warm ups. I never really connected the sexual encounters we had with my love for him. It was just something that came with the relationship. At Olympic Trials in 1984, each swimmer had his or her own room. The night before I was to swim, Rick came into my room at midnight, lay down in the bed, got up, urninated on the wall, and then fondled me for an hour until I told him that I needed to sleep. I didn’t understand why he urinated on the wall … now I know he was drunk.
I would babysit Rick’s daughter while he and Linda would go out. He would tell me that I needed to love his girl like my own because one day she would be mine. I remember going into his basement of his home and kissing him. I was so desperate for his affection. I was so jealous of other girls who got his attention and time. I hated when he would talk to or hug other girls. I was in torment, and I could tell no one. One of the most vivid things I can remember was the overwhelming and constant sense of powerlessness that I felt. The only way I could control my situation was to be near Rick. I craved time with him. When I was at home or at school, I was miserable.
I could list dates and places that abuse took place. They were countless. Rick always told me that I should not worry because “if we got caught, he would take half of the blame.”
We got caught. Then he left. The promises of a life together were gone. I was so alone, left to deal with a broken heart and years of wondering what I did wrong. I met with Linda at Georgetown Prep to talk about what my parents had found in my journal. She understood what had happened, and said “Once your relationship with him began, there is no way that you could have stopped it. I wasn’t able to. ”
For about a year, when I lived in Austin, I went to a therapy group with pedophiles in it. My therapist at the time was hoping that these men would help me to understand that Rick didn’t love me … and that he was a criminal. I cannot tell you how many highly degreed and qualified professionals have told me, “He is ill. He didn’t love you. You weren’t the only one.” I hung on and hung on and hung on to the notion that I was “special.” He did love me! He did!
But that isn’t love, is it. No, my adult self has struggled to comprehend that. To this day, I still don’t all the way understand.
So how has this abuse affected me? I’m human, and we humans are complex, but here are some of my issues that I believe are directly related to this abuse inflicted on me.
· I lost my chance at the ’88 Olympics because I was so ill with bulimia and completely unstable in my thinking
· I developed an eating disorder as a junior in high school (two-month inpatient hospital stay required)
· I was isolated from my family and peers as a teenager, and missed HUGE lessons/social skills that come from those relationships
· My marriage of 20 years is over because of my drinking and inability to connect with, open up to, and trust another human being.
· I am an alcoholic.
The years and years I have been in therapy cannot be totaled up. It’s impossible. I have seen MSW’s, LPC’s, PhD’s, LCDC’s, Holistic Doctors, and I am currently under the care of a Psychiatrist. I have been to OA, AA, and NA. I have worked the steps more than once. Just last year I looked into an inpatient treatment facility for various issues.
The reason that I decided to speak out has nothing to do with Rick or myself. This isn’t about me. This is about how one young person’s life was unraveled and what that looks like as an adult. I chose to break my silence because too many adults in positions of authority are looking the other way instead of dealing with difficult issues head on. My job is done. I will go to my grave knowing that I have done what I could with the hand I was dealt.
*EVERY CHILD DESERVES TO ENTER ADULTHOOD WITH A FULL SET OF ARROWS IN THEIR QUIVER.