In Long and Winding George Gibney Saga, Month of January Is No Time For a Lull

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January 3, 2017
More Relevant Than Ever — ‘JUSTICE DENIED: The Untold Story of Nancy Argentino’s Death in Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka’s Motel Room’
January 4, 2017

Complete chronological links to Concussion Inc.’s series on rapist former Irish Olympic swimming coach George Gibney are at


by Irvin Muchnick


Federal judge Charles R. Breyer struck a blow for the long, slow bend of justice when he ruled in Concussion Inc.’s favor last month in our Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security for additional public release of material from George Gibney’s American immigratiion records. Perhaps we soon will have black-and-white documents shedding light on what the judge termed my suspicion “that the American Swimming Coaches Association greased the wheels for Gibney’s relocation” from Ireland to the United States.

Or perhaps not. During the waiting game of the government’s 60-day appeal window, which expires a month from now, supporters of Gibney’s many sexual abuse victims, as well as general advocates on two continents, need to keep pushing public understanding of the story’s intertwining threads.

How the American swimming establishment enabled the harboring of Gibney — USA Swimming along with ASCA — is the most resonant thread for me; it ties together amateur sports abuse on a global scale. But don’t try selling that to the youth athletes and their families who seek basic closure. And like everything else about Gibney, even his crimes are a multinational affair, with at least one of them, his 1991 rape of a 17-year-old swimmer on a training trip, occurring in Tampa, Florida.

I have no information on whether a government appeal of the FOIA ruling is likely. If there is an appeal, our victory in the Northern District of California will be delayed, at least, while the fight heads to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

But even if we win outright, a lot of work is in front of us. We don’t yet know the extent of the mix of the court’s final unredactions and retained redactions. Judge Breyer said he was ruling “(largely) in Muchnick’s favor,” but he also made it clear that blacking out the names of third parties, for example, was still appropriate. If I had to guess, I would say there is likely substantial new information in the additional documents, but I also caution against expectations of a proverbial smoking gun. Challenges of interpolation and interpretation remain.

In the meantime, all other legal gears must continue to turn. At the behest of Irish legislator Maureen O’Sullivan, the country’s director of public prosecutions has been reviewing, since 2015, information on the abruptly terminated criminal counts of Gibney’s indecent carnal knowledge of 27 underage victims (allegations on which the Irish government’s Murphy Commission would find that the accusers “were vindicated”). Reportedly, there is also other information on never-prosecuted incidents.

A time to wait — yes. But not a time to rest.

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Concussion Inc. - Author Irvin Muchnick