by Irvin Muchnick
In 1992 someone in America sent George Gibney, the former Irish Olympic swimming coach, a letter that stated, “Dear George, [REDACTED] would be very interested in your services as coach to there [sic] team. [REDACTED]” A facsimile of this tantalizing excerpt, produced by the Department of Homeland Security in my Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against it, which settled last year, is viewable at http://muchnick.net/gibneyjoboffer.pdf.
At an October 28, 2016, hearing in the FOIA case, U.S. District Court Judge Charles R. Breyer said, “I have to assume that if somebody has been charged with the types of offenses that Mr. Gibney has been charged with, the United States, absent other circumstances, would not grant a visa. We’re not a refuge for pedophiles.” https://concussioninc.net/?p=12269; http://muchnick.net/breyertranscript.pdf.
In his decision “(mostly) in Muchnick’s favor,” rendered days later, Judge Breyer wrote, “Plaintiff Irvin Muchnick is a freelance journalist investigating sexual abuse in amateur sports. Quite naturally, he wants information about Gibney…. He hopes to uncover how American authorities allowed an alleged sexual predator to enter and reside in the United States despite the scandal swirling around him in his native Ireland…. He also suspects that the American Swimming Coaches Association greased the wheels for Gibney’s relocation.” https://concussioninc.net/?p=11651; http://muchnick.net/gibneyfoiafinalorder.pdf.
Last week SwimVortex’s Craig Lord reported that documents from American Swimming Coaches Association executive director John Leonard show the contrary: “that Leonard did indeed supply damning evidence to the potential employer, that Gibney was not employed as a result.”
But SwimVortex will not publish these alleged documents or even describe them. Gibney, in fact, did coach for the North Jeffco Hurricanes in Arvada, Colorado, in the 1990s, before he left, in a new hail of home-grown sexual misconduct allegations. Is Leonard saying that he and ASCA blocked or tried to block Gibney’s hire at North Jeffco?
Leonard, via SwimVortex, also said that “Gibney contacted ASCA, after failing to get a job at a program in Colorado.” But Gibney didn’t fail to get a job at a program in Colorado. He got a job at a program in Colorado, and later lost it. Is Leonard saying that he and ASCA blocked GIbney’s opportunity for another job in the state — in swimming or in another line of work?
As I reported yesterday, the current co-head coaches at North Jeffco, Carmen Babcock and Brett Stoyell, who appear to date back with the club to almost immediately after Gibnrey left, are not responding to queries about him. Colorado swimming insiders say the entire swim community is on edge. Perhaps the thinking is that if everyone pretends that attention to suburban Denver’s role, unwitting or otherwise, as a capital of a two-continent scandal involving the movements of the most notorious sex criminal in the history of global sports will blow over, then it will blow over.
The problem is that it will not blow over. This is not a story that ends well for the reputations of tactical stonewallers. See “University, Michigan State.” Also “University, Penn State.”
Yesterday I followed up the silence of Babcock and Stoyell with queries to the entire board of directors of the North Jeffco Hurricanes, plus Lauri Dannemiller, executive director of the Apex Park and Recreation District in Arvada.
Next: the board of directors of the park and rec district and of Colorado Swimming, the regional affiliate or Local Swim Committee (LSC) of USA Swimming.
Gibney in Arvada, Colorado, remains a half-told tale. But it will be made a little more whole, sooner or later. Anyone with information is invited to email me, in discretion, at [email protected].