All in all, you would have to say that renowned Maryland swimming coach Rick Curl made a pretty sweet deal for himself. True, he’s headed to jail now, after pleading guilty to charges of child sexual abuse as a result of the testimony of Kelley Currin. Currin, now 41, was a former swimmer coached by Curl, and was molested and ultimately raped by him over six years beginning when she was only 13. But Curl paid Kelley’s parents, Gerald and Pamela Davies, $150,000 to keep his secret from police, the community, and the swim team (the Davies had read about his abuse in their daughter’s journal and confronted him) in 1989. Kelley, who was 19 when her family got paid off, waited until last year to finally alert authorities, so Curl kept his freedom, reputation, and most important of all, his opportunity to be trusted with the yummy, young, nubile daughters of other, unsuspecting parents, for a bargain yearly rate of only $6,250.
Not bad! Not bad at all.
What is bad, in fact horrible, is that we permit the conduct of Kelley and her parents to go unpunished. Essentially, they accepted cash to become Curl’s accessories, and enrichment in return for placing other young girls in peril of having Curl do to them what he did to Kelley. Imagine, if you will, that one of Jerry Sandusky’s victims and his parents accepted a yearly payment from the child molester to keep mum while he hunted down new prey. Perhaps instead of paying a lump sum, as Curl did, Sandusky just made a pay-as-you-go yearly deal. “Tell you what: I’ll send you a check for $6,250 on Dec. 31 of each year you keep quiet and don’t go to the cops (don’t worry about Penn State; they know already), and if I have a really good year, you know, raping kids, I’ll send you a $500 bonus on top of that! Deal?” Do you think that arrangement might have garnered some critical commentary? What Kelley and her parents agreed to with Curl was no better, which is to say, no better than irresponsible, selfish, cruel, venal and cowardly.
The Washington Post genteelly and misleadingly calls what Curl negotiated in 1989 “a $150,000 confidentiality deal,” which makes it sound deceptively respectable. In truth, it was an extortion deal for the rape victim and her family, and a protection deal for the rapist. This could not be more unethical, and yet it is completely legal.
I know this post is substantially what I wrote about this case in 2012, when Kelley finally came forward. I reiterate the facts and the point now, because it is important to remember that Currin was not the only victim here; that if many more female swimmers didn’t suffer the same abuse Kelley Currin did after her “confidentiality deal,” it was only due to moral luck. Kelley and her family sold the safety of those young girls and exposed them to a man they knew was a rapist, for $6,250 a year. Our society allows people to do that.
Facts: Washington Post