WASHINGTON – The University of Maryland determined more than two decades ago that it had no legal responsibility to report to police that its former head swimming coach had a sexual relationship with an underage swimmer.
The university released documents and handwritten notes regarding the allegations against and resignation of Rick Curl to The Washington Post Wednesday, and the documents were obtained by WTOP. The university is standing by its 1988 decision to not take further action against Curl.
Curl was sentenced to serve seven years in prison last week after pleading guilty to abusing that young swimmer, Kelley Davies Currin, over four years starting when she was 13. Davies Currin is now 43.
The Post reported that the university’s in-house counsel at the time Curl resigned in 1988, Susan Bayly, determined the university had no duty to report Curl to the police because the victim was no longer a juvenile.
Last week, The Baltimore Sun reported that the university came to the decision not to report the abuse after conferring with the state’s attorney general’s office.
The notes from Bayly state she had an “informational briefing” with Jim Mingle, who worked for the Maryland attorney general’s office at the time. Mingle told both the Sun and the Post that he did not remember the briefing or the case.
“We discussed UMD’s duty to report. Concluded no duty b/c statute only applys (sic) to “child.” Kelley is now 19,” Bayly wrote in her notes.
The documents include a handwritten statement from Curl admitting that he had sexual intercourse with Davies Currin and that he knew she was 15 at the time. He wrote that the sexual activity continued for two years. The letter is signed by Curl, Davies Currin and her parents.
The Davies family later agreed to a $150,000 out-of-court settlement and did not pursue criminal charges.
Curl resigned two years after signing that letter of admission. “I regret the circumstances necessitating this resignation, but do so voluntarily and without coercion, recognizing it is in the best interests of the team, the University and myself,” he wrote.
The university attached Curl’s statement admitting to the sexual relationship to his notice of resignation, according to another letter the university sent to Montgomery County investigators in 2012.
“These documents show that the university confronted Mr. Curl, demanded his resignation, notified the Attorney General’s office, and was advised by the Attorney General’s office that no further reporting was required,” university spokesman Brian Ullmann said in a statement released to the Post. “This is truly an unfortunate and regrettable situation, but we continue to believe that the university’s actions were both reasonable and appropriate at the time.”
The documents also included additional Bayly notes that detail options for handling Curl including a civil suit, criminal prosecution, which she noted would be a “nasty approach,” or to “write him a letter (sic) get out of swimming.”
After leaving the university’s swim program, Curl continued to coach until he was banned from USA Swimming in 2012.
Here is an example of the notes:
WTOP’s Amanda Iacone contributed to this report. Follow @WTOP on Twitter.