by Irvin Muchnick
The Apex Park and Recreation District in Arvada, Colorado, along with its aquatic center tenant, USA Swimming’s North Jeffco Hurricanes age-group swim program, finally got back to us yesterday. But all they told us was what is already in the public record.
Speaking for Apex executive director Lauri Dannemiller (in an email cc’d to North Jeffco’s co-head coaches, Carmen Babcock and Brett Stoyell), the district’s media person, Katie Groke Ellis, said:
“After internal investigation, we found that Mr. George Gibney was employed by the North Jeffco Park and Recreation District in the mid-1990’s as a Swim Coach. After being employed for a few months, it was brought to the attention of the Executive Director at the time, that there were concerns around Mr. Gibney’s past. At that time, the Executive Director called for Mr. Gibney’s resignation and he immediately resigned.”
I told Ellis that the guts of the question was not Gibney’s back-end scandal and departure, which is known, but rather the front-end narrative of Gibney’s hire. The record of my recently settled Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security includes a 1992 U.S. coaching job offer letter to Gibney and a suggestion by a federal judge that I’m on the right track in suspecting that the American Swimming Coaches Association had helped arrange the offer.
Bizarrely, ASCA boss John Leonard last week emerged from years of no-comment on the Gibney matter to assert, through his mouthpiece outlet SwimVortex, that “documents show that Leonard did indeed supply damning evidence to the potential employer, that Gibney was not employed as a result,” and that an angry Gibney “contacted ASCA, after failing to get a job at a program in Colorado.”
These assertions are malarkey in the absence of a look at the “documents” or at least a better description of them — along with an explanation of how Gibney could have been complaining about damning information that kept him from getting hired by a program in Colorado, when he in fact had been hired by a program in Colorado.
On this point, Apex and North Jeffco said they had nothing. “We don’t have employment records dating back 22 years for part-time employees,” spokesperson Ellis told me.
Folks on the ground in Colorado, who are interested in getting to the full truth of how and on whose recommendation Gibney landed at North Jeffco in 1994, are working on it. Any readers with information are invited to contact me at [email protected].
Meanwhile, here again are two local police reports on Gibney from the period in question.
In 2015 the public relations coordinator for the Arvada Police Department told us this:
“In late October, 1995, the APD was notified by a citizen that Mr. Gibney was employed by the North Jeffco Parks and Recreation District, and that he had previously been accused of child abuse in Ireland. The APD confirmed that Mr. Gibney had been charged with child sexual abuse in Ireland, but that he was not convicted on any of the charges. During its investigation, the APD learned that Mr. Gibney was suspected of possibly pinching (or snapping the swimsuit of) a North Jeffco swimmer. The APD investigated this allegation, but was unable to establish that a crime had occurred. Shortly thereafter, the APD learned that Mr. Gibney was no longer employed by North Jeffco. The APD had no other involvement in this matter.”
Also in 2015, the commander of the investigations bureau of the police in neighboring Wheat Ridge issued the following statement:
“On September 20th, 2000, the Wheat Ridge Police Department was notified that an alleged sex offender named George Gibney was living within our jurisdiction. Detective Lila Cohen investigated the situation. Detective Cohen contacted the reporting party (RP) who was the president of an accounting company that employed Gibney. Detective Cohen was told that:
* The RP had fired Gibney the day prior
* The RP had discovered concerning information regarding Gibney on the Internet
* Gibney had gone to Peru on behalf of a children’s eye clinic
* Gibney was on an advisory board for the Department of Youth Corrections
* Gibney may be a coach for the North Jeffco Swim Club
Detective Cohen notified the Arvada Police Department where the North Jeffco Swim Club is located. Sergeant Rzappa advised Detective Cohen that she had already received information concerning Gibney. Detective Cohen found that Gibney was on the advisory board of the Metropolitan State College Lab School at Lookout Mountain. Detective Cohen advised the person in charge of the Lab School regarding the allegations that Gibney was a sex offender. She also advised that the Wheat Ridge Police Department had no indications of specific allegations in Colorado.
Because there were no allegations regarding any crime in this jurisdiction, no investigation outside of notification was done.”
Who hired George Gibney for North Jeffco in 1994, and on what basis? The truth will out.