Key Takeaways From ‘Who Is Protecting George Gibney?’ at the Irish News Site Broadsheet

Published November 8th, 2017, Uncategorized

PREVIOUSLY:

“George Gibney’s 2010 Application For American Citizenship Was Rejected, With No Other Consequences, Federal Judge Said,” http://concussioninc.net/?p=12269

“Reprint of Sunday Times of London Article: ‘Abuser coach Gibney denied U.S. citizenship,’” http://concussioninc.net/?p=12277

“How George Gibney Lied on His 2010 Application For American Citizenship,” http://concussioninc.net/?p=12279

“Ireland’s Broadsheet: ‘Who Is Protecting George Gibney?’”, http://concussioninc.net/?p=12283. (Direct link: http://www.broadsheet.ie/2017/11/07/who-is-protecting-george-gibney/)

 

by Irvin Muchnick

 

The headline here is the extremely valuable coverage of the feisty and thorough Irish website Broadsheet.ie, and I’ll get to it.

But a long preamble is in order as readers process the latest developments in the story of George Gibney, the rapist head coach of the 1988 Irish Olympic swim team who today is still hiding in plain sight in central Florida.

There is no tasteful way to prioritize either the categories or the individual cases of sexual assault and sexual harassment. Victim impact varies from category to category and from case to case. We should be paying close attention to all of them. This is not only because of the scale of victim impact. More fundamentally, it is because the individual and collective violence — combined with the blind eye self-protective institutions so often turn to abuse of all kinds — is a crime against the very concept of communal life.

So it is a good thing that the exposure of Harvey Weinstein’s reign of terror let loose a #MeToo campaign — even if the dynamics of the Hollywood casting couch are somewhat murkier than the current trendy backlash might convey. It is likewise a good thing that a harsh light now shines on campus rape — even if, in the more sober light of day, this subject also requires a conversation about alcohol and every other gray judgment accompanying party atmospheres.

Still, after you acknowledge all of the above, the systematic sex abuse by coaches of their underage athletes in amateur sports is as black and white — and as sordid — as it gets.

It is heartening that in open court, U.S. District Senior Judge Charles R. Breyer said some things in my Freedom of Information Act case, involving the immigration files of George Gibney, that will help unravel the two-continent cover-up that has enabled Gibney’s flight from justice, a quarter-century old and still running.

(Gibney’s FOIA ruling in my favor was appealed by the defendant Department of Homeland Security. The case is in settlement discussions at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Mediation Service.)

Justine McCarthy, a columnist for the Irish edition of London’s Sunday Times, picked up on Concussion Inc.’s report of Judge Breyer’s revelation that Gibney was rejected when he applied for American citizenship in 2010. The application scenario unfolded after fellow Irish native Evin Daly’s Florida child advocacy group renewed the heat on Gibney over his old 27-count indictment for illicit carnal knowledge of underage victims.

No journalist is better equipped to connect these dots than McCarthy, author of the book Deep Deception: Ireland’s Swimming Scandals. (In his published decision, Judge Breyer even footnoted the Amazon link, https://www.amazon.com/Deep-Deception-Irelands-Swimming-Scandals/dp/1847172040.)

The reporting of McCarthy, earlier of the Irish Independent, and others including Johnny Watterson of the Irish Times, led to “root and branch” reform of the Irish Amateur Swimming Association, which was dissolved and reconstituted as Swim Ireland. Except maybe it wasn’t so root and branch, after all: Swim Ireland’s boss is now a coach named Peter Banks, whose association with Gibney, on its face, was so intimate that I can’t even publish the details for fear of collateral damage to innocent bystanders.

Banks also is a potential bridge to the American side of this scandal. He moved to the U.S., coached here, and even became an American citizen so he could join the American Olympic staff for the 2000 Summer Games in Sydney. Banks then worked for the American Swimming Coaches Association, whose advertised business model includes facilitating visas for coaches moving from country to country; and who — again, as Judge Breyer pointed out in the FOIA decision — I plausibly suspect of having “greased the wheels” for Gibney’s passage here. The smoking gun evidence might be a (still almost fully redacted) job offer letter that is part of his immigration file.

[Correction 11/9/17, 8:30 a.m. PST: Peter Banks is no longer with Swim Ireland. Last year he moved again back to the U.S., where he coaches for Pipeline Swimming in Tampa, Florida. I regret the error but it hardly mitigates the point being made about his role, and may strengthen it.]

All of which circles us back to the latest exhaustive report at Broadsheet. Whether the resulting information is brand-new, or reinforcement of known but not yet fully digested information, depends on how closely you’ve been paying attention. It goes like this:

 

  • Gibney got a U.S. visa the year before he was charged in Ireland. The entire timeline is problematic.

A precinct of the Garda (national police) gave Gibney a “certificate of character” on January 20, 1992, in support of his visa application. Yet a 1998 Irish government inquiry, headed by Justice Roderick Murphy, would find that a parent had submitted allegations against Gibney to gardai as early as November 1991.

It’s actually worse than that — the case against Gibney began getting forged in December 1990, when a core 1967 Gibney victim, Chalkie White, confided in Olympian Gary O’Toole, who proceeded to organize other victims in sharing further information and presenting it to the authorities. By February 8, 1991, Gibney was already resigning as national coach amidst a swirl of rumors, which soon would be a whole lot more than rumors.

 

  • The matter of the Florida rape.

Here’s Broadsheet on this subject: “In 1991, Gibney allegedly raped a female swimmer, aged 17, in a hotel room while they were on a swimming trip with the Trojan Swimming Club in Tampa, Florida. He previously attacked the same girl in Holland in 1990. The rape resulted in the girl becoming pregnant and a high-ranking official in swimming taking her to England for an abortion. It’s also alleged that the official warned the girl not to tell anyone about the termination.”

 

 

  • How Gibney fits in with the others at the top of Irish swimming. For simplicity’s sake, let’s stick for now to the guy who was a murderer.

In February 1991, Chalkie White told Frank McCann, president of the Leinster Branch of the national swimming association, about Gibney’s abuse. McCann said he’d deal with it.

Broadsheet notes parenthetically: “(McCann, who also abused child swimmers, is later found guilty of murdering his wife and niece, in an attempt to cover up for his abuse in 1996)”

A coach named Carol Walsh additionally reported to McCann what White had confided. In her account, McCann said “he hoped to fuck it wouldn’t break while he was president.” He told Walsh “to back off and not get involved.”

 

  • The Irish legal system’s 1994 actions in the Gibney case flunk the smell test.

Broadsheet:

 

“The judicial review [of the charges against Gibney] was secured after a Supreme Court decision, during which Gibney’s senior counsel Patrick Gageby argued that the delay in initiating the prosecution against Gibney infringed his right to a fair trial.

Mr Gageby’s sister, future Chief Justice Susan Denham was on the bench of the Supreme Court that day.

Gibney subsequently left Ireland, first for Scotland and then America.”

 

Chronological links to our series, which began January 27, 2015, under the headline “Why Is George Gibney — No. 1 At-Large Pedophile in Global Sports — Living in Florida? And Who Sponsored His Green Card?”: http://concussioninc.net/?p=10942