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'A deliberate cover-up'?: US Figure Skating reckoning with sexual abuse allegations against Olympic coach

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By Brittany Martinez

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Craig Maurizi has been here before.

In 1999, he accused Richard Callaghan, once figure skating’s top coach, of sexually abusing him when he was one of his students more than a decade earlier. He reported the abuse to the sport’s national governing body. He told his story to several major media outlets.

But Callaghan issued strong denials. Maurizi’s claims were dismissed. Callaghan kept coaching.

Now, nearly two decades later, Maurizi has brought his allegations against Callaghan – and U.S. Figure Skating’s handling of those allegations – back into the spotlight. He filed a new complaint to the U.S. Center for SafeSport, the U.S. Olympic Committee’s misconduct watchdog, in January.

An exclusive interview with Maurizi will air Tuesday morning on Good Morning America.

This time might be different. On Wednesday, the U.S. Center for SafeSport suspended Callaghan, pending a new investigation of those earlier allegations. His name was added to U.S. Figure Skating’s roster of banned or suspended members late Wednesday night — listed alongside more than a dozen others publicly shamed for various alleged misdeeds — barring him from all USFS-sanctioned events until further notice.

Upon hearing the news of Callaghan’s suspension, Maurizi says he was overcome by a mix of emotions. Happiness. Vindication. Relief. Then he settled on another one.

“The truth is that as the days are passing,” Maurizi told ABC News, “my anger is growing.”

That’s because Callaghan had been permitted to continue coaching under the auspices of U.S. Figure Skating despite the organization receiving from Maurizi what he calls “a mountain of evidence” to support his claims.

Maurizi submitted a tranche of documents to SafeSport – mostly letters to and from skaters, coaches and skating officials regarding his case – many of which had also been submitted to U.S. Figure Skating nearly 20 years ago. He also provided those same documents to ABC News.

“The more I thought about it the more it became clear that I had an obligation to try again to stop this man from coaching once and for all,” Maurizi told ABC News. “I would have a tremendous sense of guilt if I found out that he was still doing this to children and I didn’t do anything, so I had to do everything in my power to stop it.”

Maurizi is also exploring his legal options. He recently retained the services of the California law firm that represents many of the athletes who accused USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar of sexual abuse. He says he is focused on “getting the job done,” making sure Callaghan never coaches again.

When reached for comment on Friday, Callaghan told ABC News he had not been notified of his suspension. When asked by ABC News about Maurizi’s allegations, however, Callaghan said he had no further comment.

“That’s 19 or 20 years ago,” Callaghan said. “I have nothing to say.”

The documents, however, indicate that U.S. Figure Skating took no disciplinary action following detailed allegations of sexual misconduct levied against Callaghan by several male skaters stemming from incidents from 1977 to 1995.

U.S. Figure Skating has said that Maurizi’s claims were dismissed without full consideration because skating bylaws stipulated that alleged violations be reported within 60 days, and according to a spokesperson U.S. Figure had not received any abuse claims about Callaghan before or since. “Prior to Mr. Maurizi’s complaint regarding the alleged sex abuse by Mr. Callaghan, there was never a complaint submitted to U.S. Figure Skating prior to 1999 nor has any complaint been received from anyone since regarding any alleged misconduct by Mr. Callaghan,” said a spokesperson in a statement.

Both Maurizi and the former skating official who initially received Maurizi’s grievance are highly critical of the association’s handling of his allegations, however.

“It was, without a doubt,” Maurizi told ABC News,” a deliberate cover-up.”


U.S. Figure Skating is the latest national sports governing body to reckon with its alleged failure to protect young athletes. USOC CEO Scott Blackmun resigned in February amid ongoing scandals surrounding the handling of sexual abuse allegations by USA Gymnastics and USA Swimming.

According to Christine Brennan, a sports columnist and ABC News contributor who trailed several top skaters and coaches, including Callaghan, during the 1994-95 season for her 1996 book Inside Edge: A Revealing Journey into the Secret World of Figure Skating, the culture within figure skating is such that coaches are given an incredible amount of responsibility, and control, over their students.

“Figure skating is a sport in which parents often give their kids over to the coaches,” Brennan said. “The level of trust is extraordinary, even more than we see with gymnastics and swimming. Sometimes families split so the mother can move with the child who skates to follow a coach or go to a particular rink in another part of the country, while the father stays home with the non-skating kids. There is an inordinate amount of trust that a skating family places in a coach in a sport like figure skating.”

This is the second such case to be brought to U.S. Figure Skating’s doorstep in recent weeks. Manly, Stewart & Finaldi, the California firm representing Maurizi, recently filed a lawsuit on behalf of a former member of the USA National Figure Skating Team against U.S. Figure Skating, former coach Donald Vincent and a pair of Los Angeles-area ice rinks. According to Vince Finaldi, cases like Vincent’s are “one more example of the culture of child abuse that is rampant in our Olympic sports programs.”

“Figure skating,” he said, “is no exception.”

Vincent was convicted in 2014 of abusing two of his students between 2007 and 2011 and is currently serving a sentence of 98 years to life in prison. According to the complaint, skating officials had received previous abuse allegations against him, raising the …read more

Source:: Sports News


Tom Brady speaks out on Super Bowl loss: 'You realize the sun comes up the next morning'

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ABC News(NEW YORK) — New England Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady said his team’s devastating loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII will stay with him for the rest of his life.

“I think you realize the sun comes up the next morning, your life goes on but, you know, those games live with you for the rest of your life,” Brady, 40, said Monday on Good Morning America. “That’s part of being an athlete. That’s part of being in a very competitive sport.”

The Patriots lost to the Eagles 41-33 on Feb. 4 in a hard-fought game that gave the Eagles their first-ever Super Bowl victory.

“I’m proud of our efforts throughout the year,” Brady said. “We overcame a lot of adversity, like you always do in order to get to that game but we just came up a little bit short.”

The five-time Super Bowl champion said that shortly before this year’s big game he video-chatted his wife, Gisele Bundchen, and their daughter, Vivian.

“Daddy, we are here to make you win,” Vivian, 5, can be heard telling her father in a clip from the final episode of the Facebook Watch series Tom vs. Time, that aired on GMA Monday.

“Yeah, you are, you’re going to help Daddy win,” Brady says in the clip. “I know you’re going to cheer so loud.”

The Facebook Watch docu-series, which premiered earlier this year, offers fans an intimate glimpse into Brady’s career and his life off the field.

“It was a great experience for me because I got to share a lot of things that, you know, a lot of fans never get a chance to see,” Brady said. “With the amount of fans that have really enjoyed the show, when I reflect back and think about the decision to do it, I think, ‘What a great decision,’ because so many people have come up to me and said, ‘Thanks for doing that. It was so great to see.'”

The Tom vs Time series sheds a light on the balance Brady struggles to find between his family and his love for football.

“I have a wife that is very, aspires to be a lot of things and she travels a lot. My oldest son lives here in New York,” he said. “Three kids and you’re just always trying to juggle and you want to be there for them and you want to be there for the hockey games and the soccer games, but you also realize the level of commitment it takes to give as much as you can to the team that needs you.”

Brady added, “I think most professionals probably feel the same way. Sometimes it gets out of balance and you’ve got to figure out how to bring it back to a point where it feels great for everybody involved.”

Brady wed Bunchen, 37, in 2009 and the couple has a son, Benjamin, 8, in addition to his younger sister, Vivian. Brady also has a son, John, 10, from a previous relationship with actress Bridget Moynahan.

As for his future in football after 18 seasons in the NFL, Brady said his family will play a “big part” in his decision about how many more seasons he plays.

“I think you can’t make decisions necessarily just for yourself,” Brady said. “I think that’s one thing I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older. There’s collateral effects to every decision that I make.”

Brady added that football brings “a lot of joy” to his life and he wants to continue playing as “best” as he can.

“It’s been such a great love for me. I love the sport. I love the competition. I love my teammates. I love working with people that I love to work with,” he said. “That part is really hard to give up, especially when I feel like I could do it and I look around the league and I see these other quarterbacks.

“I want to continue to do it as best I can because it really brings a lot of joy to my life,” Brady said.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Source:: Sports News


Scoreboard roundup -- 3/10/18

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Here are the scores from Saturday’s sports events:

Baltimore 13, Pittsburgh 5
N.Y. Yankees 10, N.Y. Mets 3
Tampa Bay 5, Philadelphia 3
Washington 2, Houston 2
Chi White Sox 4, Chi Cubs 4
San Francisco 11, L.A. Angels 7
Cleveland 8, San Diego 8
Arizona 10, Kansas City 3
San Francisco 9, L.A. Angels 8
Seattle 5, Cincinnati 2

Toronto 6, Detroit 3
Texas 8, Oakland 2

Miami 7, St. Louis 3
Atlanta 15, Pittsburgh 1
Milwaukee 9, Colorado 2
L.A. Dodgers 6, Chi Cubs 5

Charlotte 122, Phoenix 115
Miami 129, Washington 102
Oklahoma City 104, San Antonio 94
Dallas 114, Memphis 80
L.A. Clippers 113, Orlando 105

Philadelphia 2, Winnipeg 1
Tampa Bay 3, Montreal 2
Vegas 2, Buffalo 1
Boston 7, Chicago 4
Colorado 5, Arizona 2
Washington 2, San Jose 0
St. Louis 7, L.A. Kings 2
Florida 4, N-Y Rangers 3
Toronto 5, Pittsburgh 2
New Jersey 3, Nashville 2
Edmonton 4, Minnesota 1

(1) Virginia 71, (12) North Carolina 63
Villanova 76, Providence 66
(8) Cincinnati 70, Memphis 60
(9) Kansas 81, (18) West Virginia 70
(21) Houston 77, (11) Wichita St. 74
(13) Tennessee 84, Arkansas 66
(15) Arizona 75, Southern Cal 61
(25) Rhode Island 90, Saint Joseph’s 87

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Source:: Sports News


US women's soccer team honors Stoneman Douglas victim

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ABC News(ORLANDO, Fla.) — By everyone’s account, Alyssa Alhadeff, a 14-year-old student and member of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High girls soccer team, was bound for great things in life, on and off the field.

“Alyssa took every second of her life and did something with it,” her mother, Lori Alhadeff, said. “She had the fire to fight. She had the spirit.”

Alyssa Alhadeff was one of 17 students and teachers gunned down Feb. 14 at the Parkland, Florida, school. A former student was indicted this week on 34 counts in the massacre, including first-degree premeditated murder.

According to Lori Alhadeff, a soccer player herself, Alyssa Alhadeff started playing soccer at the age of 3 and by age 8, was playing competitively.

She said her daughter, who played center mid, was on track to play soccer in college and had dreamed of one day being on the U.S. women’s national soccer team.

“She loved the sport. … I always thought someday that she would be on the women’s national soccer team,” Lori Alhadeff said. “She aspired for that greatness. … She was probably one of the smallest on the team but the fiestiest.”

She said Alyssa Alhadeff was also a huge fan of Alex Morgan, a forward on the U.S. women’s national soccer team. The two had even met six years ago, Lori Alhadeff said, and Morgan had signed not only Alyssa Alhadeff’s book but also her cellphone.

Her father, Ilan Alhadeff, said that after her death, her friend Jamie Morris tweeted Morgan to let her know how much Alyssa Alhadeff had loved her and the women’s soccer team. Morgan reached out to the friend, Ilan Alhadeff said, and invited the family and the school’s team to a game.

On Wednesday, the Alhadeffs and the Stoneman Douglas girls soccer team traveled to Orlando to watch the U.S. women’s national soccer team play against England. Before the game, a moment of silence was held for Alyssa Alhadeff and her picture was posted on the Jumbotron. Her teammates stood in the stands, holding posters bearing her pictures and messages of friendship.

The family and team were also each presented with a national team jersey, complete with Alyssa Alhadeff’s name on it and her number: 8. After the game, members of the U.S. soccer team signed the jerseys for the girls.

Laurie Thomas, the girls’ soccer team coach, said that after the shootings, the team had gotten together for days, focused on keeping the memory of their friend and team captain alive.

“She was the voice of our team,” Thomas said of Alyssa Alhadeff. “She was a leader, not just by what she said, but also by the character. She lead the team on and off the field.”

Lori Alhadeff said the school team as well as her sons had felt the love, compassion and strength from the U.S. women’s team.

“It has literally taken my breath away,” she said of the day and experience. “Alyssa would be ecstatic. She would’ve been just jumping for joy, crying and laughing.”

Ilan Alhadeff said his daughter would have loved to share the moment with her family, friends and teammates.

“It would have been the best day ever,” he said. “It’s just amazing, the overwhelming support. … Helping not just us, but our entire city heal.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Source:: Sports News


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