Now that the Olympics are over, people in East Brunswick have likely stopped following swimming. Some residents may have heard, however, about the well-known swimming coach who was recently banned from the sport by swimming’s governing body, USA Swimming. Now, the swim coach has been arrested and charged on suspicion of child abuse.
There is no doubt that sexual assault charges and, especially allegations of sexual contact with a child are extremely serious. Someone convicted of sexual assault will likely spend years in prison, earn a spot on the sex offender registry and have an extremely difficult life following release. With a released offender’s personal information, often including the nature of the charge, available to anyone in New Jersey, it is very difficult to start life over, to live quietly and to avoid conflict. This is one of the many reasons why it is so important to work closely with a criminal defense attorney after an arrest.
Fortunately, the state must overcome a high evidentiary burden before someone can be convicted of a sex crime. When, like in this case, the supposed crime happened approximately 30 years ago, it may be very difficult for the state to prove that a crime was committed.
In the 1980s, the now-63-year-old swim coach had been coaching for a prestigious swim club when he allegedly began an inappropriate affair with a swimmer. The woman who is making these allegations said that the coach started to touch her when she was 13, and by the time she was 15, they had had sexual intercourse.
Nearly three decades later, it may be hard for prosecutors to show that what this woman alleges actually happened. They may find stale evidence, fuzzy memories and witnesses who are unwilling to come forward this long after the supposed affair took place.
Source: The Washington Post, “Coach Rick Curl arrested and charged with long-ago sexual abuse of swimmer,” Michael Laris and Debbi Wilgoren, Oct. 25, 2012
Find out more about our firm and the work we have done on behalf of those charged with sexual assault by visiting our New Jersey sexual assault page.