Ex-swim coach Rick Curl pleads guilty to sexually abusing girl in the...

Ex-swim coach Rick Curl pleads guilty to sexually abusing girl in the 1980s

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Former Curl-Burke coach Rick Curl sex abuse hearing
Former local swim coach Rick Curl, 63, center, leaves Montgomery County Circuit Court on Thursday after entering a guilty plea in a child sexual abuse case. (Astrid Riecken / For The Washington post)

Local ex-swim coach Rick Curl, whose namesake club became internationally renowned for its elite competitors, pleaded guilty today to one count of child sexual abuse involving his former swimmer, Kelley Currin, in the 1980s.

Sentencing is set for May 23. Curl, 63, faces a maximum of 15 years in prison.

Currin, now 43, traveled from Texas to attend the hearing this morning in Montgomery County Circuit Court in Rockville. When she entered the courtroom, she walked to the front row, sat down and immediately stared to her left to face Curl. The former coach, now with graying hair, sat across the aisle flanked by his wife, Linda, and his three attorneys.

Curl, dressed in a dark suit, red tie and wearing glasses, later answered a series of questions from judge Marielsa Bernard related to his guilty plea. He told the judge he had been considering pleading guilty since December.

Currin did not speak today but prosecutors said she plans to deliver a victim’s impact statement at the sentencing.

“I’ve told her over and over again that she’s a hero, a true hero,” Assistant State’s Attorney Debbie Feinstein said during a statement after the court proceedings.

Feinstein added, “This is not a happy day for her. This is a difficult day.”

More than a quarter of a century has passed since Curl initiated sexual contact with Currin.

In 1983, Curl, then 34, began kissing and fondling the 13-year-old swimmer, according to charging documents.

When Currin, formerly Kelley Davies, turned 15, the two began having sexual intercourse. The sexual

contact continued until 1987, when she left the Montgomery County area to swim at the University of Texas.

In 1989, Currin and her parents entered into a $150,000 confidentiality deal with Curl, agreeing not to discuss the coach’s sexual abuse.

Last summer, Currin came forward with the allegations against Curl, who was subsequently banned from USA Swimming and criminally charged.

In the decades after his sexual contact with Currin, Curl went on to coach several Olympic champions and world-record holders.

In the mid-2000s, he spent several years coaching at a swim club outside of Sydney, Australia.

His namesake organization, the Curl-Burke Swim Club, has since been renamed the Nation’s Capital Swim Club.

Chris Trevino contributed to this report.


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