(Complete chronological links to our series, which began January 27, 2015, under the headline “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
With this article, Concussion Inc. launches a new review series of our coverage of the quarter-century flight from justice of George Gibney, head coach of the 1984 and 1988 Irish Olympic swimming team, and of his long and legally dubious harboring in the United States.
There is a specific timing reason for this — aside from the general mission of continuing to rescue buried history and to keep alive hope for justice for Gibney’s likely dozens upon dozens of victims of sexual abuse and rape, as well as accountability for the Irish and American governments and for the Irish and American organized swimming establishments.
Here’s the timing reason: Well-placed sources on both sides of the Atlantic are telling me that there is, at long last, real behind-the-scenes movement.
Whatever might be happening in Ireland is important enough; I’m told I’ll have reportable details soon. But what would be the real game-changer is happening in the U.S., where there is a quiet and overdue revisit of Gibney’s permanent alien residency privileges.
Mysteriously, the smooth sailing of Gibney’s green card has persisted since the mid-1990s. Most perversely, his status has remained undisturbed even since 2010, the year his application for naturalized citizenship got rejected on the grounds of his concealment of his 1993 indictment in Ireland on 27 counts of indecent carnal knowledge of minors.
As is well known by readers of our now nearly four years of coverage, Gibney secured a U.S. visa in 1992 thanks to the Irish-heavy diversity lottery program of the period, under legislation sponsored by Congressman Brian J. Donnelly, a Massachusetts Democrat.
By ’93, with known victims multiplying and coming forward, Gibney already had relinquished leadership of the national swimming program. But the next year his prosecution was quashed by the Irish Supreme Court, whose sitting justices, including Susan Denham (later the chief justice), ruled that he could not get a fair trial because of the passage of time. Denham is the sister of Patrick Gageby, the prominent barrister who argued Gibney’s case before the court, yet she did not recuse herself.
Belatedly deploying his diversity lottery visa, Gibney scrambled to the U.S. by way of Scotland, and briefly coached a USA Swimming club in the Denver suburb of Arvada, Colorado — a connection possibly arranged by the American Swimming Coaches Association. Following a sexual misconduct allegation at that job, which in turn led to the exposure of his Irish past, Gibney left swimming and proceeded to bounce around the country. He was most recently spotted in Altamonte Springs, Florida, just north of Orlando.
Coincidentally, this is not far from Tampa, where in 1991, while on a training trip with his Irish team out of the Newpark Comprehensive School, Gibney had raped and impregnated a 17-year-old swimmer. An Irish swimming official later would ply the girl with drugs and take her to England for an abortion.
If, as my sources are saying, the wheels are turning on Gibney’s extradition back to Ireland, then the progress could be traceable to a meeting earlier this year in Washington between Maureen O’Sullivan, the independent Central Dublin representative in the Irish national assembly, and her legislative counterpart Congresswoman Jackie Speier, Democrat of California.
Speier, both a leading voice of the #MeToo movement and the House minority’s unofficial watchdog for sports abuse issues since 2015, will become a member of the majority on January 3, as a result of the recent rout of President Donald Trump’s Republicans in the midterm elections. At the time of the O’Sullivan-Speier meeting, the Irish edition of London’s Times reported that Speier said she would refer the Gibney matter to the House Judiciary Committee. As of a week from Friday, the committee will be chaired by Congressman Jerry Nadler, Democrat of New York.
There is much ground for our new series to cover … to re-cover. We start with the central irony of Donald Trump’s role in a possible resolution of the Gibney case.
Last month, in association with the guilty plea of Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen, special counsel Robert Mueller filed a court document naming the president as a person of criminal interest, known by the poetically legalistic code “Individual-1.” Depending on how you parse them, the missteps of Individual 1 involve everything from the peccadilloes of Trump’s extramarital relationships with Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, to campaign finance law violations in the rushed pre-election hush-money payments to the women, to the voluminous allegations of his sexual harassment or abuse of other women. (Not to mention Russian collusion, obstruction of justice, and the other estimated 14 areas of presidential corruption that are being investigated and/or litigated, and either do or do not rise to the level of impeachable “high crimes and misdemeanors.”)
The ironic backdrop of a Trump-Gibney dynamic deepens with knowledge of the president’s famous attacks on diversity lottery visas. For the current ignorant president, the intent no doubt is to further demonize Central American or Muslim immigrants. In the case of Gibney, though, the punch lands on a white European.
Then there’s the matter of a new Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office, announced in June, dedicated to rooting out cheaters who were able to stay in this country by lying on their citizenship applications. The pertinence of this ICE operation to Gibney is clear, even if the technicalities are not. The disgraced coach had the particular unusual circumstance of getting caught in his original citizenship application lie, and thus failing to gain citizenship. So the outrage becomes the fact that, despite all this, there were no consequences for his green card: ICE instructed Citizenship and Immigration Services that in the absence of a criminal conviction, he was not “removable.” Says who?
If and when the House Democrats successfully pressure the Department of Homeland Security to do the right thing on Gibney, my final thought is that there should be no attendant partisan glory. After all, the original 2010 decision to protect Gibney had been made by the DHS under Trump’s predecessor, President Barack Obama.
To conclude this first part of our series, we flash back, below, to our 2016 reproduction of the Irish government’s 1998 report of the Murphy Commission, which was established to investigate abuses in Irish swimming. In special prosecutor Mueller’s court filing, Donald Trump is “Individual-1.” In the inquiry chaired by Irish Justice Roderick Murphy, George Gibney is veiled as “The First Named Coach.”
Published February 19th, 2016
by Irvin Muchnick
One week out from our federal court hearing in the Freedom of Information Act fight for George Gibney’s American immigration records, Concussion Inc. landed a major pickup: the long-sought full text of what Ireland’s Murpny Commission said about Gibney in its 1998 report on sexual abuse in Irish swimming.
That Gibney was identified there as bad guy No. 1 or 1-A has never been in doubt; contemporary Irish newspaper reporting on the Murphy report’s release made that clear. But getting my hands on the primary source document proved challenging, because of the passage of time and because even friendly journalists on the Emerald Isle might have felt constrained by their country’s different public information and defamation laws and practices.
Recently I decided to go to the horse’s mouth by contacting commission chair Roderick Murphy himself. Two years after the publication of the report, Murphy began what is now a 16-year tenure as a justice on the High Court. (To correct something I’ve stated previously, Ireland’s highest court, like ours, is called the Supreme Court; the High Court is not the same as the Supreme Court.)
I didn’t hear back for a long time, and I figured that was that. This week, however, I got an email from John Edwards, secretary of the Association of Judges of Ireland. Edwards said, “I have had some difficulty in ascertaining the position with respect to the Murphy Commission Report,” and added that his understanding was that there were no online copies. He suggested the National Library of Ireland.
Today, thanks to the diligence of a librarian on duty who gives a good name to bibliothecaries everywhere, I struck gold. (I’m abstaining from naming this upstanding representative of the helping professions only because she probably doesn’t need any of the grief that might be generated by such attention. I did, however, make a point of noting her good work to Sandra Collins, the national library director.)
It turns out that there is, indeed, an online link to the 160-plus-page Murphy report — as the librarian discovered after reaching out to a colleague at the library for the Oireachtras (national legislature). The full title is First Interim Report of the Joint Committee on Tourism, Sport and Recreation: Protection of Children in Sport: June 1998. The link is http://opac.oireachtas.ie/AWData/Library3/Library2/DL046938.pdf.
At http://muchnick.net/murphyongibney.pdf, we’ve uploaded the 29 pages with direct reference to Gibney. As is evident from the reporting of the Irish media (most notably Justine McCarthy, author of the 2009 book Deep Deception: Ireland’s Swimming Scandals), Gibney is introduced in Chapter 5 of the Murphy report as “the first named coach.”
The commission notes that Gibney started his swim club (the Trojans, out of the Newpark Comprehensive School Sports Centre) in 1976. “Once appointed Olympic Coach” in 1988, “he seemed to dominate Irish swimming.” In 1989 he was named an Honorary Life Member of the Irish Amateur Swimming Association (IASA). This honor was “suspended” in 1997.
On overseas trips, the report says, Gibney swimmers were “locked into their rooms” and “conditioned not to protest.”
He had first abused an 11-year-old male swimmer in 1967 and an 11-year-old female swimmer in 1968. Then there’s this:
“A third witness said that in 1975 when she was 13 she had stayed for a month with the coach when her parents were on holiday and she alleged that the coach slept with her and abused her. She confided in a school friend who encouraged her to speak to a priest. She said that the priest advised her to confront the abuser and ask him to stop. When she did she said that the coach slapped her across the face, called her a whore and told her to stay away from boys. The coach then ignored her but she said later forced her to perform oral sex with him. Abuse continued and the witness believed that the coach had intercourse with her in 1977 when she was 15.”
A fourth witness said Gibney’s abuse of her began at age 12.
A fifth witness is the June 1991 victim of Gibney’s rape at a Tampa, Florida, hotel on a training trip. This swimmer said he had first indecently assaulted her in Holland a year earlier.
A sixth witness was 12 at the time she said Gibney first molested her.
At an internal swimming administrative hearing in December 1992, three complainants testified to these and additional incidents — involving both the apparent first male, and a girl over a five-year period starting when she was 9.
Gibney was criminally charged on April 6, 1993. Newpark School claimed to the Murphy Commission that Gibney had been terminated more than two months earlier.
Criminal proceedings were discontinued in September 1994 as a result of a court ruling that the long delay in bringing charges had violated Gibney’s right to a fair trial.
In April 1995, Gibney attended “a swimming gala and a children’s coaching session” at the invitation of a former officer of IASA.
Chapter 8 of the report addresses the topic “Why did victims not complain?” In fact, some victims did complain, or at least express dissatisfaction in some form, which invariably fell on deaf ears. To the extent that some victims spoke up not at all, this was explained by issues of of age, experience, power imbalance, trust, and fear — now pillars of our understanding of abuse dynamic and dysfunction.
The Murphy Commission concluded: “In light of the charges arising out of the Garda investigation the complainants were vindicated.”