Rapist Former Irish Olympic Swimming Coach George Gibney Has to Be on USA Swimming’s Secret ‘Flagged’ List — That Is, Unless the List Doesn’t Even Exist. Congress Could Tell Us.

Published January 15th, 2018, Uncategorized

by Irvin Muchnick

 

Yesterday Concussion Inc. published the 2010 deposition of Chuck Wielgus, during which the since-deceased chief executive of USA Swimming allowed that “Yeah, I think I’ve heard the name” George Gibney.

Today we go deeper with another deposition remark. Wielgus was asked whether Gibney either would be appearing on USA Swimming’s soon-to-be-published list of coaches permanently banned for sexual misconduct, or was on the organization’s secret internal “flagged” list of bad people to watch out for and kind of, sort of, keep away from pool decks.

Wielgus replied, “I don’t know. I don’t know.”

If Wielgus didn’t know, nor should anyone else; as I’ll proceed to explain, the “flagged” list is a nebulous concept in the first place. But there are clues that Gibney is on such a list, and the information would be useful to members of the U.S. Congress exploring the curious determination of immigration officials that he was not removable from this country in the wake of his failed 2010 application for citizenship. The application failed precisely after he attempted to conceal from it full and truthful answers to questions pertaining to past criminal charges in Ireland.

Notes on a USA Swimming flagged list, if not the list itself, also could facilitate efforts to coordinate information between Ireland’s national police, the Garda, and the state attorney of Hillsborough County, Florida, regarding Gibney’s 1991 rape of a 17-year-old swimmer while on a training trip in Tampa. That was a year before Gibney successfully applied for a U.S. visa, two years before he was indicted in Ireland on 27 counts of illicit carnal knowledge of minors, and three years before a controversial Irish Supreme Court ruling ended that prosecution — upon which Gibney fled here by way of Scotland.

Ireland Teachta Dála (member of the legislative Assembly) Maureen O’Sullivan is asking for help from Senator Dianne Feinstein and Congresswoman Jackie Speier in the effort to close the open procedural questions pointedly raised by U.S. District Court Senior Judge Charles R. Breyer in the course of my recently settled Freedom of Information Act case for Gibney’s immigration records.

As it happens, Speier carries the unofficial title of the Democratic minority’s watchdog on youth sports abuse issues. She inherited the role from another California Democrat, George Miller, following Miller’s retirement in 2015. In his last term in Congress, Miller, as ranking member of the House Standing Committee on Education and the Workforce, had investigated USA Swimming, with little to show for it other than a perfunctory exchange of letters with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. But the files of the Miller investigation almost certainly include material on swimming’s flagged list.

What exactly is the flagged list? All we know for sure is that it is a secret blacklist of sorts, with unexplained criteria. By interpolation, we can surmise that figures such as Mitch Ivey were on it during the years before USA Swimming finally got around to banning him outright in 2013 — 20 years after he was fired by the University of Florida in the wake of allegations of his sexual misconduct. In the intervening period, Ivey undertook such endeavors as coaching in Canada and writing instructional materials for the American Swimming Coaches Association.

Another who was (is?) a candidate for the flagged list is Murray Stephens, the International Swimming Hall of Fame founder of the North Baltimore Aquatic Club, where Michael Phelps got his start. Stephens disappeared as the face of the team amidst 2012 reports of his relationships with some of his swimmers. However, he recently took over again, at least as the publicly acknowledged steward of the Meadowbrook Aquatic Center, which he owns. (Even in his underground period, Stephens had never ceased to collect hundreds of thousands a dollars a year from the club for pool rental.)

Still another: Rick Curl, convicted molester of his swimmer Kelley Davies at the Curl Burke Swim Club (since rebranded as the Nation’s Capital Swim Club in the Washington, D.C. area). It was the unraveling of USA Swimming’s several-decades-long cover-up of Curl that prompted Congressman Miller’s 2013-14 investigation and Curl’s lifetime ban, just prior to his prosecution, conviction, and incarceration. But he was likely flagged before he was banned, since the chronology showed that in order to avoid the heat in some of the years after getting fired by the University of Maryland, Curl had taken a powder with a coaching position in Australia.   

In 2012, Concussion Inc. published a list that had been compiled and circulated to the USA Swimming board of directors two years earlier by former Olympic swimmer David Berkoff, an on-again, off-again anti-abuse activist, when he began a term as one of the organization’s vice presidents. See http://muchnick.net/berkofflist.pdf.

Berkoff’s list included both banned and not-banned figures; the latter were categories 3, 4, and 5 of the list, and I rather loosely referred to these collectively as “the” flagged list. I more properly should have termed it a flagged list, rather than the flagged list, since it was the result of Berkoff’s individual research and not necessarily in one-to-one correspondence with whatever Wielgus had been alluding to in his deposition earlier in 2010.

Berkoff’s categories were:

  • “US residents associated with swimming not listed on the current version of the USA Swimming “Banned List” but who have been arrested for or who are accused by a police body of sexual misconduct in any form”
  • “International swimming coaches that have been banned by their NGB [national governing body] or who have been convicted of serious crimes”
  • persons who have been publicly accused (by way of published media and by an identifiable accuser) of sexual abuse or misconduct

The entry on George Gibney is page 55 of the 69-page list:

 

1984-1990

George Gibney

(Florida, Utah, Colorado, Ireland, Scotland)

ARRESTED, RELEASED & ON THE RUN.

Gibney is alleged to be one of the worst pedophile coaches in British [sic] swim history. He is alleged to have had seven child rape charges [sic] dismissed in Great Britain [sic] on legal technicalities and is alleged to have raped an Irish female swimmer he held captive in a Florida hotel room in the early 1990’s while on a training trip.

Gibney apparently lives in Florida but Irish officials are seeking his extradition. The list of his victims is alleged to be substantial. Gibney is asserted to have coached in Colorado while in the US for North Jeffco Aquatics.

(Cite: http://www.abusewatch.net/GGibney_update.php)