Figure Skating Sexual Abuse
Just like other youth sports, figure skating has also been plagued with sex abuse scandals. Though the news covers high-profile cases of Olympic figure skating coaches, there are cases of sexual misconduct found in all levels of the sport.
California has a long history of producing skating champions, including Olympians Brian Boitano, Kristi Yamaguchi, and Peggy Fleming. But the dark side of figure skating has produced numerous individuals currently on the U.S. Figure Skating banned list.
The list includes David Delago, Marc Mandina, and Donald Vincent.
- Delago, according to the U.S. Figure Skating website, is permanently banned for sexual misconduct violations. He is from San Jose and was affiliated with Sharks Ice San Jose.
- Mandina is a former national champion from France. He taught ice skating at several San Diego rinks before relocating to the Boston area. He was arrested in San Marcos and pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography.
- Vincent was convicted in 2014 and sentenced to 98 years in prison. At the time, he was affiliated with the Paramount Iceland Skating Rink.
U.S. Figure Skating sexual abuse
There is a high prevalence of sexual abuse being committed by coaches affiliated with U.S. Figure Skating and even within international associations.
A recent case involved U.S. Figure Skating Olympic coach Richard Callaghan, who trained 1998 Olympian, Tara Lipinski. Callaghan was banned from coaching once a lawsuit was filed, accusing him of being a serial sexual abuser to several athletes over the years. Even though there are other athletes who claimed to be sexually abused by Callaghan, only two have come forward publicly.
Another case involved a prominent Minnesota skating coach, Thomas Incantalupo, who was sentenced to 24 years in prison after sexually abusing his skating athlete for years. Incantalupo trained up-and-coming skaters for international events, but not at the elite level.
In 2019, following an interim suspension by the U.S. Center for SafeSport, two-time national doubles champion John Coughlin committed suicide. He was accused of sexually abusing three victims, two of which were minors. His death, as well as other stories of abuse, has forced U.S. Figure Skating to acknowledge that the sport has a problem with abuse. “2014 Olympic team bronze medalist Ashley Wagner, one of Coughlin’s alleged victims, told USA TODAY Sports, ‘This sport has a long, long, long ways to go before I can say that I feel that every single kid is safe.”
If you have been sexually abused, contact an athlete abuse attorney and learn about your legal rights. In California, the law allows any individual sexually abused in California to still seek justice against their perpetrator and the institution that enabled their criminal behavior. All communication with any member of our legal team is 100% confidential.