Figure skating coach Richard Callaghan suspended amid sexual misconduct probe

A figure skating coach who once trained Olympic champion Tara Lipinski has been suspended pending an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct first made against him nearly 20 years ago.

Richard Callaghan was accused of sexual misconduct in April 1999 by Craig Maurizi, one of his former students and later an assistant to him in San Diego and Detroit. Maurizi told The New York Times that Callaghan had engaged in inappropriate sexual contact with him beginning when he was 15 years old. The alleged misconduct had begun nearly 20 years earlier. Callaghan denied the allegations.

The U.S. Center for SafeSport, the U.S. Olympic Committee's misconduct watchdog, announced Callaghan's suspension on its website this week. U.S. Figure Skating then issued an order barring him from all of its events until further notice, as mandated in its bylaws.

On Friday, the 72-year-old Callaghan told ABC News: "That's 19 or 20 years ago. I have nothing to say."

He also said he had not been notified of the suspension, though he said he "saw a note on a website somewhere.''

In a statement on Friday, U.S. Figure Skating confirmed the suspension and said it would have no further comment.

Maurizi told ABC News that the suspension was "a great step in the right direction,'' but he did not go into details about what prompted the action.

"At this time, I'm not going to discuss whether I have or have not filed a new claim through SafeSport,'' Maurizi said. "I'm in the process of securing legal representation on my behalf.''

Maurizi's previous grievance against Callaghan with the U.S. Figure Skating Association, the precursor to U.S. Figure Skating, was dismissed on procedural grounds. He was Callaghan's assistant at the Detroit Skating Club until they split after Lipinski turned pro, left Callaghan and decided to train with Maurizi.

Callaghan, who also coached six-time U.S. champion Todd Eldredge, said he has retired to Florida but still coaches a few times a week.

He was listed as the chief operating officer of Champions of America, a skating clinic owned by Eldredge. The company's website still advertised private skating lessons with Callaghan until Friday afternoon, when the page was removed, ABC News reported.