Rick Curl sentenced to 7 years

Curl pleaded guilty to sexual abuse charges in February. Photo: ABC7

Rick Curl, the prominent United States swimming coach who pleaded guilty to sexually abusing one of his students in the 1980s, was sentenced Thursday to seven years behind bars.

Curl pleaded guilty Feb. 21 to sexual abuse of a minor. He faced up to 15 years in prison on the charge, which was levied against him in July of 2012.

"Every day of my life has been spent thinking and feeling awful about my behavior," he told the victim in court.

His victim, Kelley Currin, now in her 40s said that the abuse happened over span of three years while she competed at the Curl-Burke Swim Club.

Curl began touching her inappropriately when she was 13 and had a sexual relationship with her when she was between the ages of 15 and 18.

"I trusted him, and my parents trusted him, everybody trusted him, and that trust was broken," Currin said last July.

Curl's lawyers pleaded for leniency, saying he admitted to the abuse in a letter to the victim's parents and in a 1987 financial settlement he reached with them. They said he had pleaded guilty, instead of going to trial, and had never committed another act of sexual abuse.

"Mr. Curl didn't deny it, he didn't take it to trial, he hasn't misled anyone in the courtroom," said one of his lawyers, Tom Kelly.

Curl, a Vienna native, was arrested in late October on those charges, a month after he was banned for life by USA Swimming.

Curl ran one of the nation's largest swim clubs near D.C. and coached 1996 and 2000 Olympic gold medalist Tom Dolan.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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