Cost of Rick Curl’s ‘Stay-Out-Of-Jail-And Keep-Molesting-Girls’ Card: $6,250 a Year

I hope it was worth the cash, Kelley.

I hope it was worth the cash, Kelley.

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.

It’s insane.


Facts: Washington Post

15 thoughts on “Cost of Rick Curl’s ‘Stay-Out-Of-Jail-And Keep-Molesting-Girls’ Card: $6,250 a Year

  1. I have to admit that I’d never really thought about these payoffs in this way. It clearly opened my eyes. All these celebrity / sports payoffs like Michael Jackson and Justin Beiber (I know. His payoff to the pregnant female isn’t public knowledge but it happened) are all egregious because, in essence, it is a bribe for silence. And it’s all legal. Yikes, what a world!

    • At least the accusation in Jackson’s case was out in the open. This is also essentially what allowed Ted Kennedy to have a long and productive career in the Senate. He was almost certainly guilty of negligent homicide, and paid the parents of his victim to let him get away with it. But again, at least we know about the accident. The Curl situation was even worse.

      • The Kennedy situation strikes me as worse because there was a carrot (the payoff) and a stick (the threat to further ruin the lives of his victims parents). I tend to cut Mary Jo’s parents a bit more slack than those “guardians” whose silence was so easily bought. A threat from Michael Jackson would hardly carry the same weight as one from a Joe Kennedy thug.

        • Yes, I agree. Curl had no leverage, only money, and the usual threat of dragging his victim’s name through the mud of public embarrassment. In those days, the Massachusetts public would have let a Kennedy get away with almost anything. On the other hand, as a public figure now under scrutiny, Kennedy was hardly a threat to get anyone else killed. Curl was a potential predator, allowed to roam free.

    • Not much. Of course, a civil settlement could be called a bribe too, though unfairly. Confidential settlements are considered unethical by many trial lawyers and many jurisdictions, especially when they allow corporations to keep making dangerous products: the McDonald’s coffee case came out of a situation where McD’s had been paying off burn victims so it could keep serving boiling coffee.Confidential settlements of criminal conduct are unquestionably unethical, in my view.

  2. I agree with you, although most of my cases, as a public defender, don’t involve financial settlements, confidential or otherwise. The flip side, i.e., use of the criminal justice system to collect what would otherwise be a civil claim–which is rampant in the Commonwealth of Virginia (see the “bad check” and “failure to return rental property” code sections)–is a topic for a whole different discussion, But to me, paying a witness not to testify or file a complaint smacks of bribery and obstructing justice and is therefore not only unethical, but also criminal.

  3. It is a crime for parents to fail to protect a child from abuse about which they know. So, if Kelley was a minor when her parents read her journal and learned of her abuse, they could, in fact, be charged with endangering a child or failure to protect a child at the very least. Unless, of course, the pesky statute of limitations means it’s too late — something else rife with debatable ethical points in itself. (My understanding of this issue is that the clock does not start ticking until it is known/reported that a crime was committed.)

    Furthermore, if any professionals acquainted with Kelley along the way (e.g., teachers, the asst. coach, a physician, nurse, social worker, school counselor, pastor, etc.) knew or suspected the abuse (which is almost always retrospectively revealed once a child sex abuse perpetrator is known as such), their failure to report the crime is also a punishable offense in most states.

    I’m not a lawyer, but it seems to me that the parents’ failure to report him at the VERY least constitutes assessories to any subsequent crimes if other victims of this preditor are identified. Now that he’s been prosecuted, it would surprise me if other victims haven’t begun to come forward.

  4. Extortion, obstruction of justice, child endangerment… there shouldn’t be a statute of limitations on these crimes. Period.

    I’d start on Ted Kennedy, but you’d probably delete it, Jack. The only salient fact that I’ll point out is that Massachusetts and the Kennedys are a sick combination (even though I was born there). Bags of money (starting with Joe Sr and his bootlegging) should not make for respect or escape from bad deeds. I’ve always wondered whether Joe Jr. (war hero) suggested he pilot his fateful airplane flight to Britain on purpose, because he saw that he was being groomed for his criminal father’s desire for respectability and would rather die than go along with it. (Joe Sr., of course, was appointed as Ambassador to Britain until he was recalled because of his clear support for the Third Reich…)

    So it’s not new. But the prevalence today is enormously disturbing.

    • I think the statute of limitations reason for being is because after a certain amount of time, the evidence would be questionable. A person’s ability to defend themselves is also limited by the presence of time. Where were you on November 5th 1975 between 10 and 11 AM? What were you wearing? Do you recognize this person from 1975? Can you pick your best friend from third grade’s picture out of this picture lineup?

      • It is less that the EVIDENCE is questionable, but the ability to mount a defense becomes more difficult – How the HELL are you going to prove you weren’t there the night the “victim” is claiming you raped them when it is 15 years later? I have a hard time remembering how I spent most nights LAST YEAR, let alone a decade ago.

        England and places like it have a HORRIBLE set of rules about this sort of thing – you can sue someone civilly for molestation at any time. ANY time. It could be 30 years later, and you can sue for millions. How could you EVER mount a solid defense, unless they somehow manage to pick a day or days when you were on camera in places so far away as to be impossible to be at the scene of the “incident”.

        Amazingly, in places that REMOVE the ability to recover money damages for such accusations, the rate of reporting old crimes of rape and molestation virtually cease.

  5. I can only say that, if these people were any lower, they’d likely be Hollywood stage parents. That’s where the BIG money is to be had for prostituting your children. So the Davies folks were not only criminal, but cheap as well.

    What price a child’s body and soul?

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