Lipinski Coach Exonerated


A grievance filed against renowned figure skating coach Richard Callaghan for sexual misconduct and exploitation has been dismissed by the Professional Skaters Association.

PSA president Gerry Lane said Friday a three-member committee charged with examining claims by Craig Maurizi, a former student and colleague of Callaghan, unanimously found no violation of the ethics standards of the organization. The PSA certifies coaching in American figure skating, but coaches do not have to join.

"I am happy with the decision," Callaghan said. "However, no decision can really compensate for the damage it has done my reputation and the grief these allegations caused my wife and daughter."

Maurizi charged in April that Callaghan, who coached Tara Lipinski to an Olympic gold medal and Todd Eldredge to five U.S. championships and a world title, made improper advances to him when he was 15. Maurizi said Callaghan abused his authority three years later to initiate a full sexual relationship, which continued for four years.

While the U.S. Figure Skating Association dismissed Maurizi's complaint in June, the PSA gathered information from Maurizi, Callaghan and any witnesses. The committee then determined "a standard of proof by clear and convincing evidence was not met to support the grievance," according to a PSA statement.

"I thank the PSA for conducting the grievance procedure in a timely and professional manner," Maurizi said. "I am a member and am proud to be a member of the PSA.

"I am not really surprised. From the first day I decided to come forward with my story, I knew I probably waited too long."

Maurizi's grievance was dismissed by the USFSA because it said he waited too long to file it. A complaint had to be filed within 60 days of the alleged violation.

"I hope I gave the PSA and the USFSA a wakeup call by telling my story," Maurizi said. "They are great organizations, but in this area they are very lacking."

He said he hoped the USFSA would establish a detailed sexual abuse policy similar to that of the Canadian federation.

Maurizi currently coaches in Marlborough, Mass.

Callaghan left the Detroit Skating Club soon after the allegations and now is coaching in Rochester, Mich. He has six students, including Angela Nikodinov, ranked third in the United States, and Eldredge. He is here with Nikodinov for Skate America.

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