Richard Callaghan, Figure Skating Coach, Is Barred for Sexual Misconduct

Richard Callaghan, a prominent American figure skating coach who was suspended from the sport last year, was barred permanently on Wednesday, 20 years after he was first accused publicly of sexual misconduct involving a minor.

The decision to bar Mr. Callaghan for sexual misconduct was announced by the U.S. Center for SafeSport, a nonprofit organization created to investigate abuse of athletes. U.S. Figure Skating, the sport’s national governing body, followed suit and also barred Mr. Callaghan, who is 73, from any skating-related activity in the United States. He has long denied any wrongdoing.

Mr. Callaghan is best known for coaching Tara Lipinski to an Olympic gold medal in 1998 and coaching Todd Eldredge to a world championship and six United States titles.

In 1999, Craig Maurizi, a prominent coach and former student of Mr. Callaghan’s, told The New York Times that Mr. Callaghan had begun abusing him when he was 15 years old. Two other skaters also accused Mr. Callaghan of inappropriate behavior in the Times article.

Mr. Maurizi’s accusations were dismissed at the time by U.S. Figure Skating because they had not been filed within 60 days of when the abuse was said to have occurred. But the case received renewed scrutiny when SafeSport was formed in 2017, and Mr. Callaghan was suspended from skating in March 2018.

“I feel finally vindicated,” Mr. Maurizi said Wednesday. “This guy’s a monster. This man has ruined the lives and careers of many people. I believe he should be punished to whatever extent is possible.”

Wednesday’s permanent ban came days after another former skater, Adam Schmidt, 34, filed a lawsuit against Mr. Callaghan, saying he had been abused by the coach starting at age 14. U.S. Figure Skating was also named as a defendant in the suit.

Mr. Schmidt said in a statement that the ban was a “major victory” for skaters who had been abused by Mr. Callaghan.

“Now he will be forever known as the predator who delivered medals to a corrupt organization who accepted them in exchange for the safety and protection of children,” Mr. Schmidt added, referring to U.S. Figure Skating.

John Manly, Mr. Schmidt’s lawyer, said in a statement that the ban was good news but “small comfort” to those hurt by Mr. Callaghan.

“It should have happened in the ’90s,” Mr. Manly said, adding that U.S. Figure Skating “has been infected by the cancer of child abuse. They need to cut this cancer out before it destroys this beautiful sport.”

The ban against Mr. Callaghan followed recent public accusations of sexual assault made by two female skaters against John Coughlin, a two-time national pairs champion, who died by suicide in January after being suspended from the sport.