Rick Curl Sentenced in Maryland; Will Spend 7 Years in Prison

by Ceci Christy 57

May 23rd, 2013 National, News

Ceci Christy was in the courtroom in Rockville, Maryland as former high-level swim coach Rick Curl was sentenced today.

UPDATE: The judge misstated her initial ruling saying that Curl wasn’t to spend time in jail, and after the court was dismissed the baliff recalled everyone involved to clarify that the case would involve Curl spending 7 years in prison. We have updated the sentence below.

Today in a packed courtroom, Montgomery County District Court Judge Marielsa Bernard sentenced Rick Curl to 15 years of jail time, with all but 7 years suspended. After those 7 years, he will spend two and a half years of supervised probation and two-and-a-half years of unsupervised probation.

As part of the two-and-a-half years of supervised probation, he will have to attend sexual offender rehab, would have to attend alcohol abuse counseling, and that he was to have no unsupervised contact with unrelated girls under the age of 16.

There is going to be another hearing to determine whether or not his crime was violent, and if it’s determined that it was, then Curl would have to serve another three years in prison.

He can request an appeal, but does not have a right to an appeal, as there is in many cases.

There were 72 letters submitted to the court supporting Curl.

A nearly-full courtroom of former Curl swimmers, coaches, and friends were in attendance. When the defense asked for supporters to stand up, the entire courtroom stood except for the plaintiff and members of the media, indicating that a majority of those in attendance supported Curl.

The judge said that it was definite that Curl was grooming Currin, and that the court could not forgive or forget the psychological damage. Addressing Curl directly, the judge said directly to Curl that “he went on to live a full and renowned life, in contrast with Kelley’s life was full of devastation and damage from which she has not recovered, and her Olympic dream disappeared.”

Curl’s attorneys painted this as a low risk of recidivism, though a psychological report said that there was a “degree of sexual deviance” because of the age of Currin and the length of time of the abuse. Curl told the doctor that he takes the blame even though he said that Currin made the first move at the age of 12.

The judge found in her ruling that he would not have ended the relationship if he had not been caught. The defense continually referred to it as a “relationship,” but the judge rebuked them in saying that it was abuse and impossible for them to have a relationship at that age.

In reference to the parents’ decision to sign the non-disclosure agreement, the judge called it a “Hobson’s choice,” which means that it was a no-win scenario, and that they had her sympathy. The judge felt that they had to choose between ending her swimming career and taking the agreement, and that she felt sympathy for them.

This sentence comes after Mr. Curl pled guilty to one count of custodial sexual abuse of Kelley Currin when she was a minor. The maximum sentence allowed under Maryland state law was 25 years.

Among those who spoke on Mr. Curl’s behalf was his wife, who said that this behavior was an “anomally” and not typical of his life or career.

Ms. Currin came forward After 25 years to pursue prosecution of Mr. Curl. At the time of the abuse from 1983 to approximately 1987, Ms. Currin swam for Mr. Curl at the Curl Burke Swim Club. When Ms. Currin’s parents learned of the relationship between their
Daughter and Mr. Curl, Ms. Currin was headed to the university of Texas on a swimming scholarship.

Her parents’ reaction to the abuse, under advice of counsel, was to settle financially with Curl. Mr. and Mrs. Davies chose not to pursue prosecution of Mr. Curl. Instead, they entered into a confidential settlement precluding Ms. Currin and her parents from disclosing or reporting the abuse.

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10 years ago

What jail is he in and what does he do all day there? He made a mistake he is not a predator nor a pedafile.

Reply to  Reply
10 years ago

Reply – we’ve had this conversation before, and this is the last time I’ll warn you – you are free to defend your opinion and coach Curl, but stop impersonating a member of the SwimSwam staff. Any future comments doing so will be deleted.

10 years ago

All of you nasty posters are so ignorant and inhumane. Do you call Clinton a pedofile since Lewinsky was under age? also do you condemn Musicians Jerry Lee Lewis, SOnny Bono, Elvis Presley all who who lived with and had sex with a 12-13 year old they weren’t married to and it was Lewis’s cousin. Thousands of US politicians and Obama has been accused of homosexual pedofilia for decades. Many court cases defendents are forced to plea guilty or risk losing a jury trial and getting more jail time. Curl was the one abused not her. She admits to lying and changing her story, her atty accused her of lying and would not let her go to trial at USA… Read more »

10 years ago

There is a chart showing the age of consents internationally & The US States in 1880 / 1920 & 2010.

It is worth a look. It is quite surprising for example 36 states had the age as 10 in 1880 . Delaware had it at -wait for it – 7.

There was a global Suffragette & Temperance movement after 1880 & by 1920 there were big raises to 15 / 16 & 18. Most of these have held in law – if not in practice.

Reply to  My
10 years ago

This is noteworthy. Groundbreaking, even. This changes everything and rocks our societal foundation to its very core.

Just kidding… what are you even getting at?

Jg t
Reply to  Bossanova
10 years ago

If you don’t like facts – you don’t like facts.

Joel Lin
10 years ago

The judge opened the door to an appeal when she made comments including that Kelley’s parents made a “Hobson’s Choice” & that she felt bad for the parents. Kelley’s parents sold her dignity for one hundred and fifty grand. It is inappropriate for a judge to opine favorably that parents brokering their child is a noble act. As a parent, that sickens me.

M Palota
Reply to  Joel Lin
10 years ago

I get the “Hobsian Choice”: You pursue the rapist through the courts and you expose your daughter to public scrutiny. That could be – would be – exceptionally traumatic for that young woman.

You don’t pursue, he goes free.

Plus, the damage has been done.

I don’t know the man. I have no idea whether he’s “changed” or not. I do this: If I knew him and thought highly and didn’t know of his crime, I would not show my support in court. If I thought highly enough of him, I would continue to be his friend and support him – and his family – in other ways. I could not, though, support him in a court of… Read more »

Age-Group US Coach
10 years ago

First, Easyspeed, seriously? You have been all over these ‘SwimSwam’ Rick Curl articles constantly saying ridiculous stuff. Just….. Stop. Dude, Stop. Sit the next couple events out, go give about a 15 minute warm down and just, keep those opinions inside.

Second, I CAN understand the support for Curl. The person that committed the crime and the person that I guess turned over a new leaf as a result of being caught does seem like a COMPLETELY different person, so it can be hard to accept. I understand…. I don’t know the man personally, but I can understand it.
HOWEVER! In Comfort to @KARASDAD7794, when you become certified as a US Swimming coach, no matter what age you take… Read more »

Reply to  Age-Group US Coach
10 years ago

YES. What “AG-US Coach” said is worth saying again… “PURSUING A SEXUAL RELATIONSHIP WITH A MINOR IS NOT A ‘MISTAKE’”.. . “That is a psychologically, socially damaging crime, that can only be described by words I can’t put into text here. And then to do it over, and over, and over again during a time when you’re coaching that child worsens the damage and makes them more devastated when what they believe to be a mature relationship doesn’t last because it is WRONG.”

10 years ago

Curl is no better than any of the men on to catch a predator

10 years ago

Ridiculously excessive! What is wrong with this judge? I mean, Curl deserves consequences for his actions. But 7 years? That’s the kind of sentence you give to a rapist; this was a consensual relationship, albeit an inappropriate one. A lifetime ban from coaching, monetary damages and community service should have sufficed. The man has a wife and children for crying out loud. People are not “all good” or “all bad.”

Currin and her attorneys are riding off the Penn State/Sandusky wave (not a coincidence the story broke around the same time). Expect a shake down of USA Swimming next…

Mr. Curl should sue Ms. Currin for Breech Of Contract when he gets out. Sad situation all around.

Reply to  easyspeed
10 years ago

Todd Sousa received a 16 month sentence for having sex with a 15 year old swimmer in California. (16 felony counts and 2 misdemeanor) (2011). Different state laws really vary.

I hope this verdict gives Ms. Currin some closure. What bothers me is the fact that the Currin Family, the DA, the lawyers chose to remain silent 30 years ago and now somehow USA Swimming should be held accountable for their inactions. What were Currins coaches suppose to do when she and her parents told them that a settlement was reached with Curl because of an illegal sexual relationship?

Currin vs. USA Swimming – don’t think it would hold up in court.

Reply to  easyspeed
10 years ago

The is no such thing as a consenting relationship with a minor. Why is it so hard for you apologists for RAPE in the swimming community to understand?? The man RAPED her, and you want to minimize it as an “inappropriate relationship”?? RAPISTS belong in prison.

I can only hope that your post was intentionally provocative and not based in an actual belief. Otherwise, USA Swimming has a very long way to go before it’s swimmers will be safe from predator coaches.

Reply to  easyspeed
10 years ago

EASYSPEED, you are ridiculous.

Rick Curl received less than half the sentence afforded to rapists. He is a rapist! Five years of raping! Legally, there is no distinction between raping someone of relative age from raping someone below the statutory age of consent.

Basically, sexual contact cannot be consensual when one of the parties is below the age of consent.

Perhaps you should brush up on you knowledge of the law. For instance, the fact that Rick Curl has a wife (that he cheated on while committing rape on his wedding day), and kids (that he promised to name after Kelley Davies) has no impact on his sentencing. Who would really want Rick Curl doing any service in… Read more »

Reply to  easyspeed
10 years ago

Uh what? ”consensual relationship” ”inappropriate” ??? With a 13 years old? Nope. Its statutory rape, no matter what. Rick Curl is a rapist and its NOT okay to support him even if he was a super great coach or super nice man. Thats it. \6y7

10 years ago

How many swimmers lives did Curl harm? 1 that we know. How many lives did he affect positively? From what this site and some of the comments say, a lot.

Reply to  Anon
10 years ago

Point being? A big impact on all those other lives does not give Ms Currin back many of things she lost. This isn’t a greater good kind of discussion here.

Reply to  Anon
10 years ago

It’s disingenuous to call this “one incident.” If I rob the same store hundreds of times over 5 years is it one incident? If I beat my wife hundreds of times over the years is it one incident? It wasn’t an incident, or relationship, it was hundreds of RAPES. He raped a girl HUNDREDS of times. Frame it that way and it is a lot harder to balance it out with the many people that feel he was a good person to them.

About Ceci Christy

Ceci Christy is the mother of two teenage daughters and has held the proud title of swim mom for nine years. She volunteers extensively at her daughters' swim club in Atlanta. While being a mother is her most rewarding job, Ceci also serves as a pro bono child advocate in …

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