The Washington Post

Swim coach Rick Curl charged in long-ago abuse of young swimmer

Longtime Montgomery County swim coach Rick Curl surrendered to police Thursday morning to face a charge of child abuse after it was alleged that he had an ongoing sexual relationship with a young swimmer in the 1980s, according to authorities.

Curl, 63, was charged in an arrest warrant Tuesday. He could face up to 15 years if convicted on the single felony count. There is generally no statute of limitations for felonies in Maryland.

Co-founder of the renowned Curl-Burke Swim Club, Curl was banned from the sport for life by USA Swimming last month. The club has changed its name and now operates as the Nation’s Capital Swim Club.

Police said Curl, of Vienna, was interviewed by a county detective Aug. 15, about three weeks after The Washington Post published an extensive interview with a former member of his swim team who said Curl had a sexual relationship with her and then paid her and her parents to keep quiet about it.

The woman, who agreed to be identified in The Post, is Kelley Currin. Her maiden name was Kelley Davies. Currin, 43, alleged that Curl began touching her inappropriately in 1983. The abuse continued and grew more extensive in the following years, she said.

Swim coach Rick Curl in 1998. (James A. Parcell/TWP)

In her 14-year-old mind, Currin said, she considered it “a love affair.”

According to charging documents, Currin told investigators that, starting when she was 13, Curl kissed her, fondled her and had her touch his genitalia multiple times. He also had intercourse with her multiple times from the time she was 15 until she was approximately 18, she told authorities.

Currin said that she appreciates that investigators took action even though many years have passed and that she is “relieved that this has been done,” her attorney, B. Robert Allard, said Thursday.

“She feels that the world is a better place now than it was before he was arrested,” he said.

Curl turned himself in about 8:30 a.m. Thursday, police said, and was released on $50,000 bond.

In a statement, Curl’s attorneys called him a “devoted father and husband” who over three decades “successfully coached hundreds of young men and women.”

“Rick Curl is a good man,” attorneys Thomas J. Kelly Jr. and Bruce L. Marcus wrote Thursday. After the allegations became public, many swimmers and their family members “reached out to us to offer their support and to reiterate that Rick was an excellent coach, a good person, and a man that provided them and their children with strong moral leadership.”

The alleged abuse occurred at Curl’s former residences in Rockville and Darnestown and the swimming facilities at the Georgetown Preparatory School in North Bethesda, according to court documents.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Nov. 16.

Maggie Fazeli Fard contributed to this report.

Mike Laris came to Post by way of Los Angeles and Beijing. He’s written about the world’s greatest holstein bull, earth’s biggest pork producer, home builders, the homeless, steel workers and Italian tumors.



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