During the 2018 Winter Olympics, Figure Skating officials met with an alleged sexual abuse victim who was preparing to tell his story to the media. He says they made him an offer he believes was intended to secure his silence.
In 1999, skater turned coach Craig Maurizi had accused Richard Callaghan, his former coach and colleague, of sexually abusing him when he was a young skater. Maurizi, in a latest interview revealed the conversation that he had with the officials that day.
“I feel like I told the world,” Maurizi told ABC News. “But in reality, nothing really changed. I mean, figure skating just went back to, you know, what it always did … Producing medals.
“As much as I hate to say this,” Maurizi said, “looking back on that meeting now, I can’t help but wonder if it was an attempt to get me to be on board with U.S. Figure Skating.”
Maurizi felt that he was being offered a good position in the committee after he said that he was going to talk to media..
“I think they wanted to discuss with me what my intentions were, what did I plan to do,” Maurizi said. “And I reiterated exactly what I told him on the phone. I said, ‘I’m going to move forward. I’ve already, at this point, filed a report with the U.S. Center for SafeSport. But I’m going to talk to the media.’”
“He invited me to be on an executive committee for U.S. Figure Skating, I would be heading up a committee, or maybe almost a new branch of U.S. Figure Skating, that would deal with sexual abuse and things of this nature, because I had such a unique perspective on the situation. To me, it was significant.”
There was no discussion, Maurizi said, of whether this would have been a paid or a volunteer position. But it was clearly a “position of prominence” within the organization, he said.
“I have to wonder if that was a tactic to get me to try and not talk,” Maurizi told ABC News. “I mean, that was certainly never said to me, but I couldn’t infer any other conclusion to that.
“To be offered a position, I certainly knew that if I was going to take a position with U.S. Figure Skating, that I had to be on board with U.S. Figure Skating,” he added. “That was obvious. I couldn’t be in a position of authority within the organization and then speak of its shortcomings.”
In response to questions from ABC News, U.S. Figure Skating issued a statement that strongly denied any assertion that Mauruzi was offered him an official position within the organization, saying his story was discussed to “educate athletes.”
“There was no invitation for Craig to serve on an executive committee; there is no such committee within the U.S. Figure Skating structure, nor is there is a ‘new branch’ in the organization,” the statement read. “There was a discussion with Craig about sharing his story to help educate athletes, parents and coaches. U.S. Figure Skating executive director David Raith reiterated to Craig that it was his decision – and his decision alone – if he wanted to share his story with athletes, parents and coaches, and/or the media.”
Maurizi, however, is standing by his version of events.
Richard Callaghan, in the most recent news is now banned for the sexual misconduct 20 years ago.
In a statement released on Wednesday, U.S. Figure Skating said it “has made Richard Callaghan permanently ineligible, in compliance with the policies and procedures of the U.S. Center for SafeSport. This action follows Callaghan’s March 6, 2018, suspension of membership.”