Colorado Child Protection Ombudsman Decides (Reasonably) Not to Intervene in Arvada Public Record Matter – All Eyes on Our Fed FOIA Request for George Gibney’s Immigration Files

Published March 23rd, 2015, Uncategorized

by Irvin Muchnick

 

Dennis Goodwin, Colorado’s child protection ombudsman, today told us he decided not to seek from the Arvada police the 1995 report on George Gibney, which the department had summarized for us but not released in its original form. (The full background is in last Wednesday’s post.)

While I make a regular practice of grilling public officials over transparency, in this case I can’t really quarrel with Goodwin’s decision, which he explained in an email:

 

“After much consideration and discussion, it is our opinion that using the Ombudsman statutory authority to obtain this record and then release a statement regarding its content is prohibited.  Even for the limited purpose you have proposed, it is still prohibited by federal statute,  state statute and the Child Protection rules approved in February of 2015.  Over my career, I have worked with the Arvada Police for 34 years and have found them to be a very professional and ethical department.”

 

This leaves us with a tough road to hoe – convincing a Colorado court that a customarily sealed document should be released because of an overriding public interest – and today I am doubtful that Concussion Inc. will pursue the litigation option. The Arvada police did indeed conduct themselves professionally in telling us, in broad terms and in some specific ones, what was in the report. Thoroughness compelled us to want to inspect the document ourselves, or to get someone with statutory authority, along with a measure of independence, to give us second-hand reassurance. However, the promised returns seem marginal.

What would be additionally helpful – though neither the Arvada nor nearby Wheat Ridge police are going in this direction, apparently – would be for them to reach out to the now-retired police officers who handled the local Gibney investigations at the time: Sergeant Jo Ann Rzeppa in Arvada and Detective Lila Cohen in Wheat Ridge. Of the two, Cohen is probably the more important, since the Wheat Ridge police have said there was, along with Cohen’s report from 2000 (which we received and published), one from two years earlier that got destroyed when old records were cleaned out.

Meanwhile, our more important federal Freedom of Information Act request, to the Department of Homeland Security for Gibney’s visa and green card files, remains on track, according to an official at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Within the next month,we should either have acquired those records or face a clear opportunity to argue in federal court that the public interest, in both the U.S. and Ireland, demands their release.

 

THE SERIES SO FAR:

 

Why Is George Gibney — No. 1 At-Large Pedophile in Global Sports — Living in Florida? And Who Sponsored His Green Card?

Published January 27th, 2015

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Offers Confused Initial Response to FOIA Request For Rapist Irish Coach George Gibney’s Visa and Green Card Files

Published February 18th, 2015

Senator Feinstein Leads Congressional Group Assisting Concussion Inc. in FOIA Request For Former Irish Coach George Gibney’s U.S. Immigration Records

Published February 19th, 2015

How Former USA Swimming President Dale Neuburger Responded To an American Court To Questions About Rapist Irish Coach George Gibney – Now Living in Florida With a Green Card

Published February 22nd, 2015

Rapist Irish National Coach George Gibney in Colorado in 2000 – Coached For USA Swimming Club, Claimed To Be on Board of At-Risk Youth Center, Traveled to Peru With a Priest

Published February 23rd, 2015

Colorado Police Confirm Basics of Concussion Inc.’s George Gibney Reporting; Questions Persist on USA Swimming’s Cover-Up Role

Published February 24th, 2015

Archdiocese of Denver ‘No Comments’ Irish Coach George Gibney – Plus Other New Notes on USA Swimming’s Cover-Up

Published February 24th, 2015

George Gibney’s USA Swimming Club in Denver Claims ‘No First-Hand Knowledge’ of His Dismissal and Notice to Others in 2000

Published February 25th, 2015

More Info on George Gibney at the USA Swimming Club in Denver, As Public Records Requests Escalate

Published February 25th, 2015

What’s Ahead in the George Gibney / USA Swimming Investigation

Published February 26th, 2015

BREAKING: Arvada (Colorado) Police Say George Gibney Left North Jeffco Swim Team As Early As 1995, Following Sexual Harassment Incident And Exposure of His Irish Past

Published February 27th, 2015

“Alleged abuser Gibney’s green card queried” — Sunday Times of London, Irish Edition

Published March 1st, 2015

George Gibney Swimming Abuse Cover-Up Featured Tonight on Irish TV

Published March 2nd, 2015

Here’s the 2000 Wheat Ridge (Colorado) Police Report on Rapist Irish National Team and USA Swimming Coach George Gibney

Published March 3rd, 2015

Member of Irish Parliament Calls on Government to Seek George Gibney’s Extradition From the U.S.

Published March 3rd, 2015

Tuesday Night Notes on the Exploding George Gibney / USA Swimming Story on Two Continents

Published March 3rd, 2015

See It Now – Irish Legislator O’Sullivan, Journalist McCarthy, Whistleblower Parent Discuss the Quest For George Gibney Justice on TV3’s ‘Tonight With Vincent Browne’

Published March 4th, 2015

Wheat Ridge (Colorado) Police: We Destroyed 1998 Report on George Gibney

Published March 4th, 2015

Status of Our Freedom of Information Act Request For George Gibney’s Immigration Files — Now Being Closely Watched in Both Ireland and U.S.

Published March 4th, 2015

Link to Irish Times Story on Irish Parliament’s Maureen O’Sullivan’s Appeal For Extradition of George Gibney

Published March 4th, 2015