Complete chronological headline links to our series, “Why Is George Gibney — No. 1 At-Large Pedophile in Global Sports — Living in Florida? And Who Sponsored His Green Card?”: https://concussioninc.net/?p=10942
by Irvin Muchnick
An Irish woman has given Concussion Inc. chilling and explicit details of her alleged 1982 sexual molestation by disgraced 1988 Olympic swimming team head coach George Gibney, when she was 11 years old, at the pool of a prominent Dublin hotel.
The woman says that during this period the Burlington Hotel, which has been transformed and changed ownership numerous times in the intervening 35 years, was frequented by both Gibney and Ger Doyle, who would become head Irish swim coach for the 2000 and 2004 Olympics before — unlike Gibney — serving a prison term on his conviction for dozens of counts of sexual assault.
Gibney and Doyle are two of several high-level Irish swimming coaches whose crimes — including murder in one case — caused national anguish and spurred the restructuring of the Irish Amateur Swimming Association, now known as Swim Ireland.
In the United States, this reporter sued the Department of Homeland Security for records shedding light on Gibney’s residency in this country for more than 20 years. Thanks to a technical ruling by the Irish Supreme Court, Gibney, just prior to emigrating here, had escaped prosecution on more than two dozen counts of illicit carnal knowledge of underage victims. As with Doyle, many or all of the victims were athletes under the coach’s supervision.
A 1998 Irish government report on sexual abuse in the nation’s swimming program, the Murphy Commission, concluded that Gibney’s accusers “were vindicated.”
Last December federal judge Charles R. Breyer ruled in our favor in the FOIA case. In his opinion, the judge reviewed the long and sordid history of youth coach sex abuse in Irish swimming and called Gibney “the one who got away.”
The defendant Department of Homeland Security appealed Breyer’s order to disclose more of Gibney’s immigration files, and the case is now at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
For the purposes of this article, we are calling the victim in the 1982 incident “Julia.” Except for resolving in her favor a marginal dispute over the existence of a pool at the Burlington Hotel, I have no independent verification of Julia’s allegation. But I believe her. And the full context of the Irish swimming scandals and of Gibney’s checkered two-continent history supports publishing her account.
Julia told me that she was abused by both Gibney and Ger Doyle (she remembers the former calling the latter “Jerry”). The delay in Julia’s coming forward has many familiar elements — shame, possible collateral damage to loved ones, fear that she would not be believed nor her information acted upon — and some unique ones. The latter include her absence from Ireland during the period when the swimming scandals first broke in the news media there.
“I never came forward about Gibney because I didn’t see the point after the injustice the others were dealt out. I didn’t want the upheaval in my life,” Julia told me. “I had a hard childhood and just wanted to forget about everything I went through and get on with my life. What Gibney did to me was minor in comparison to other things that were done to me so I didn’t see the big deal about it when I was young. I sometimes thought about it but never saw myself coming forward until two years ago I saw a picture of Gibney and Ger Doyle in their younger days on the Internet and recognized them.”
Julia said that on an evening in 1982 her father brought herself and her brother, who is three years older, to the pool of the Burlington, in Dublin’s affluent Ballsbridge neighborhood. The brother asked how they would get admitted to the pool of a hotel where they were not staying. The father said he would arrange it through a lifeguard he knew. Julia believes the “lifeguard” was Doyle.
“My father talked to the lifeguard for a few minutes. He then told us it was OK and waved us in and said he would come back for us in two hours. When we got to the pool there was a man and a woman there. The man started talking to my older sibling, telling him that he was an Olympic swimming coach. My brother was really excited about this and came over to tell me. The man approached us and started splashing me with water so I splashed back. I asked him was he really an Olympic coach and he said yes. We thought it was amazing that we had met somebody like this.
“The man said he lived in a luxury apartment and would bring us there to show it to us if we came back the next night. He told us that he came here every night to swim.
“He said he wanted to see me swim, so I swam up and down the pool. He said I was a good swimmer but needed some lessons to be better. He made my sibling and me have swimming races. The girl he was with sat at the edge of the pool smiling as she watched the fun.
“The lifeguard blew the whistle after an hour was up. Gibney told me to stay — that he would give me a free swimming lesson. His girlfriend and my brother left, leaving me alone with Gibney and Ger Doyle.
“Gibney became angry and bossy. He brought me to a corner of the pool where the lifeguard was sitting and put his hand inside my bathing suit. He probed me everywhere and then put his finger inside me. While he was probing inside me, the lifeguard was watching and said, ‘Enough.’ Gibney said, ‘Just give me a few more minutes, Jerry.’ The lifeguard was getting annoyed with Gibney and said to Gibney every few minutes, ‘Time is up, enough.’ Gibney would keep answering, ‘Just give me another minute, Jerry, I’m nearly finished.’
“There was something violent about him and I was afraid so didn’t protest. He was ordering me around. I froze while he abused me.
“When he was finished he told me to come back tomorrow night and he would bring us to his apartment. He told me to get out and get dressed. I was frightened and dressed as fast as I could.
“I just wanted to get out of there. I was afraid. I met my sibling in the front hall of the hotel waiting. He asked me why I took so long to get ready. We waited for my father to pick us up. I watched Gibney from the hall, he seemed to know a few people at the hotel, the workers from the bar and the receptionist knew his name, he talked to them. He left the hotel with two other men. My brother tried to wave to him but Gibney ignored him and walked on. My father came shortly after that to pick us up.
“My father said he would bring us back there the next night. The next day I pretended to be sick and have an earache. I knew he would do something worse to me the next time and dreaded it. After protesting, I got my way. My mother was there when I was pretending to be sick and said not to bring me swimming if I had an earache.
“I was 11. I didn’t fully understand what had happened to me and just thought every man did this to girls and that it was normal. I didn’t know any different because I had been sexually abused throughout my childhood; my first memory was when I was four “
Julia ran away from home in 1987, at age 16.
“The last two years of my life have been spent putting the pieces of the puzzle together to try and make sense of everything that happened to me as a child. Gibney is just one little piece of the big puzzle.”
Concussion Inc. sought possible information from old pool lifeguard records, plus any other comment, from the Dalata Hotel Group, which last year purchased the Burlington Hotel.
Deputy chief executive Stephen McNally responded that no such old records existed. In a second email, McNally added, “I don’t believe the Burlington Hotel ever had a swimming pool.”
This assertion incensed Julia, who proceeded to provide us with a diagram of the pool complex and its dressing rooms and relation to the hotel, and of the exact spot where the sex crime occurred.
“I could tell you every detail of the pool and the changing rooms at the old Burlington Hotel,” Julia said. “I was there about 15 years ago and the hotel is completely different now.”
Evin Daly, the Irish native who heads the Florida-based advocacy group One Child International, corroborated Julia’s memory of a pool at the Burlington in 1982. “A friend of mine swam there,” Daly told me.
Dalata Hotel Group’s McNally then amended his earlier statement: “I can only remember the hotel since 1989. And there was no pool then. However, there could have been a pool in 1982.”