The start of the US Figure Skating Championships was overshadowed Thursday by news that the organization had agreed to pay $1.45 million to a former skater who claimed he was sexually abused by a coach. Adam Schmidt, 36, sued US Figure Skating in 2019, claiming he suffered "numerous sexual assaults" by Richard Callaghan over three years, beginning at age 14, per ABC News. Then the fourth male skater to accuse Callaghan of misbehavior since 1999, Schmidt argued US Figure Skating should have done more to protect him, including by reporting Callaghan to authorities, reports the New York Times. Under the settlement, US Figure Skating and its insurer have agreed to pay $1.45 million to Schmidt while "making no admissions of fault, liability, wrongdoing or misconduct of any kind, and no admissions as to the validity of any the claims."
But "people don't settle things for millions of dollars for nothing," Schmidt tells ABC. The "amount speaks to gravity of the harm that Adam suffered," adds his attorney, Alex Cunny. He notes the settlement was finalized last year after Schmidt was awarded $1.75 million from Michigan's Onyx Ice Arena, where the alleged abuse took place. US Figure Skating suspended Callaghan in 2018 while the US Center for SafeSport investigated. Finding a pattern of sexual, physical, and emotional abuse, it decided Callaghan should be banned from figure skating for life. But that was reduced to a three-year suspension last January as certain sex offenses couldn't be corroborated as required under a "draconian" New York law in place at the time, per ABC. Another lawsuit brought against Callaghan and US Figure Skating by coach and former skater Craig Maurizi is still pending, per the Times. (Read more figure skating stories.)