by Irvin Muchnick
Heeding an appeal from Irish politician Maureen O’Sullivan, Congresswoman Jackie Speier has asked the House Judiciary Committee to explore the curious permanent residence status of former Irish Olympic swimming coach George Gibney and to consider support of the campaign by Gibney’s Irish sexual abuse victims and their advocates to have him extradited and brought to trial.
The Times of London, Irish edition, broke this news today under the headline “US under pressure to act on abuse claims against coach.” The full-text link, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/us-under-pressure-to-act-on-abuse-claims-against-coach-m99rg9mvn, is accessible with free registration.
The Times article is significant for its detail on the 1991 incident in Tampa, Florida, when Gibney raped and impregnated a 17-year-old Irish swimmer he was supervising on a training trip. (I customarily omit qualifying terms such as “allegedly,” when speaking of Gibney, because of a 1998 Irish government commission report that concluded his victims “were vindicated” by evidence gathered by the Garda, the national police, for which he was never prosecuted.)
The Hillsborough County state attorney’s office has not ruled out the possibility that the 1991 crime could be prosecuted in this country. One of the purposes of O’Sullivan’s appeal to Speier was to facilitate the sharing with law enforcement officials of information, including a victim affidavit, in the Garda’s possession.
The Times notes that Speier “has called for a full inquiry into the sexual abuse that was recently exposed in US gymnastics.”
The newspaper also quotes Irish legislator O’Sullivan reinforcing her message that victims have been denied justice and continue to suffer, and reviews her asking Congresswoman Speier, along with Senator Dianne Feinstein, to try to find out “why Mr Gibney was allowed to stay in the US in 2010, despite being denied citizenship and allegedly trying to hide 27 charges against him in Ireland from immigration officials.”