Onetime Olympic Hopeful Claims She Was Molested

USA Swimming investigating North Texas woman's allegations

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A Flower Mound real estate agent and onetime Olympic swimming hopeful claims that she was molested by her coach in the 1980s. (Published Thursday, Jul 26, 2012)

    A Flower Mound real estate agent and onetime Olympic swimming hopeful claims that she was molested by her coach in the 1980s, sparking an investigation by the organization that fields the U.S. Olympic swim team.

    "For so long, I was so afraid to talk, to say anything," Kelley Currin said in an interview Thursday.

    USA Swimming has asked for an emergency disciplinary hearing into the allegations against the coach, Rick Curl.

    Currin, 43, said she and Curl had a sexual relationship for four years beginning when she was just 13 years old.

    Curl agreed to a secret settlement in 1989 which paid her $150,000 over 10 years, according to a document stamped "confidential" that she provided to NBC 5.

    As part of the deal, she agreed to keep quiet and not go to police, according to the document.

    She said the inappropriate relationship began when she was a swimming standout and Curl singled her out for attention.

    "Over time, the hugs turned into kisses, the kisses turned into kisses on the lips, and it just -- it became a big deal very quickly, you know, into full sexual abuse," she said.

    She said she reported the abuse to three or four other coaches at the time.

    "Everybody knew what Rick was doing," she said.

    But she said her parents didn't find out until she was 17 when they read her diary before she attended the University of Texas at Austin.

    They hired a lawyer, who got Curl to agree to the settlement, she said.

    "I signed on the dotted line," she said. "I regret that."

    As part of the deal, she agreed to keep quiet and not go to police, which she said even her own lawyer advised against.

    "It was hush money," she said.

    But now, all these years later, she said she decided to talk after watching the recent sex scandal unfold at Pennsylvania State University and seeing Curl still coaching the USA swim team just last month.

    "And there he was at Olympic trials front and center, like royalty on the deck," she said. "And I just said, 'I'm done. I'm done. I'm done being quiet.'"

    Curl now operates a popular swimming facility outside Washington, D.C.

    He didn't return a phone call or an email from NBC 5.

    But the Washington Post, which first reported the story, said Curl hung up when asked about the allegations and has now taken a leave of absence from his swim club.

    From the London Olympics, USA Swimming's public relations director emailed a statement saying the organization started an investigation after it received information late last Friday afternoon.

    "We requested an expedited hearing on Monday and have invited the alleged victim to testify," said Karen Linhart. "We hope she will take part in the process."

    Currin said she would not testify because she said she already provided the organization with a copy of her settlement agreement with Curl, which he signed.

    She said she feels good about finally going public with her secret.

    "The truth will set you free," she said. "That's where I stand."