PREVIOUS INSTALLMENTS OF THIS REVIEW SERIES:
by Irvin Muchnick
In the previous installments of this review series, linked above, Concussion Inc. has been focusing on how, over the last 13 months, the settlement of our Freedom of Information Act lawsuit for documents and information from George Gibney’s American immigration file brought to a new level of attention the long-running campaign for the the United States government to revisit the permanent resident alien status of the most notorious at-large sexual abuser in the history of global sports, and to consider his extradition back to Ireland or his trial in this country, or both.
From well-placed sources, I have learned that the Department of Homeland Security under President Donald Trump is poised make some kind of move that the U.S. authorities have ducked for decades.
But what are the specific actions that might comprise justice for Gibney’s countless victims, and at this point — and perhaps equally importantly — accountability for his enablers? Here’s a rundown.
In 2010, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Issued a ‘Get Out of Jail Free Card’ For Gibney in a Decision to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Hounded by a resurgent extradition campaign, which was supported by new Internet-driven publicity of his Irish past, Gibney in 2010 applied for American citizenship. He had arrived here in the mid-1990s on the strength of a 1992 diversity lottery visa from an Irish-friendly quota pool set aside under legislation sponsored by Congressman Brian J. Donnelly of Massachusetts.
Gibney evidently had been renewing his green card privileges at intervals ever since. It seems likely that his 2010 citizenship application was an effort to inoculate himself, once and for all, from calls to haul him back to Ireland, where a 1994 procedural ruling, by an Irish Supreme Court whose sitting justices included the sister of Gibney’s lawyer, had spared him prosecution on an indictment the year before for 27 counts of illicit carnal knowledge of minors. A 1998 Irish government commission report investigating widespread abuses in Irish swimming would find that the numerous known Gibney accusers “were vindicated” by the evidence assembled by the Garda, the national police.
Gibney’s citizenship application was flawed, however. A form required him to disclose whether he had ever been convicted or charged with a crime in his native country, and to provide pertinent details. Gibney answered flatly and falsely in the negative. Having been alerted to Gibney’s background by Evin Daly, an Irish-American anti-abuse activist, USCIS asked Gibney to redo the errant answer. He did not.
My FOIA settlement released a redacted guidance letter from ICE, dated July 20, 2010, on the disposition of the Gibney matter. The document states, “This case involves GIBNEY, who applied for naturalization; [REDACTION] no criminal convictions which would render him removable from the U.S. [REDACTION] this referral does not meet the current case acceptance criteria [REDACTION] is being returned [REDACTION] for action deemed appropriate.”
On December 2, 2010, the director of the USCIS field office in Orlando, Florida, sent a decision letter to Gibney. “Pursuant to an investigation and examination of your application,” the letter stated, “it is determined that you are ineligible for naturalization.” But thanks to ICE’s contribution, Gibney’s lie on his application had no evident consequences for his green card residence status.
Last year ICE, now under President Donald Trump, and as part of his new crackdown on illegal immigration, established an office dedicated to rooting out those who had achieved citizenship through lies on their applications. Gibney’s loophole, which strains the credulity and fairness of Trump’s policies, comes down to this: ICE, at least in his case, has been silent with respect to an unsuccessful lie on a citizenship application — and one by a white European, not a Central American or a Muslim. This issue is ripe for reconsideration.
Gibney’s 1991 Rape of an Irish Teen Swimmer During a Florida Training Trip Is a Case of Multi-Jurisdictional Interest.
The sordid story of Gibney’s sexual assault of a 17-year-old girl under his charge, in a Tampa hotel room, is well documented at this site and in the Irish media. The victim, whom Gibney impregnated in the incident, was fed drugs by an Irish swimming official, which made her pliant for a quick trip to England to abort the pregnancy. Now in her mid-40s, the woman has been in and out of psychiatric care in the wake of this trauma, and at different times has exhibited more or less ability to provide useful testimony against Gibney in a criminal case. But it is known that the Garda at one point obtained a thorough affidavit from the woman including names, places, and other details.
The particular legal ozone of the information on this 1991 crime is that, while it has been part of on-again, off-again reviews by Ireland’s director of public prosecutions of the prospect of reviving criminal charges against Gibney, for both the original 27-count indictment in 1993 and cases that have crystallized since then, the 1991 victim’s affidavit is in a jurisdictional no man’s land. Presumably, a crime committed on American soil could be prosecuted here — along with becoming the basis for extraditing Gibney to Ireland to face other charges. But how do we get the pertinent Irish and American law enforcement agencies in dialogue with each other? A treaty between the U.S. and the European Union, of which Ireland is part, spells out protocols.
Shortly after the FOIA settlement in December 2017, I asked the office of Andrew H. Warren, state attorney of Hillsborough County, Florida, whose coverage area includes Tampa, whether prosecution of a rape committed in 1991 would be barred by the statute of limitations. The answer: no — or at least, not necessarily.
Here is the full statement by Rena J. Frazier, chief of policy and communications for the state attorney: “In general, there are statutes of limitations that apply to the prosecution of sexual battery cases based on the level of offense, except for capital offenses which have no time bar. The time limitation would be based on the statute in effect at the time of the offense. There are also exceptions and circumstances that can extend the statute of limitations. The circumstances of a specific case would need to be analyzed to determine whether its prosecution would be time barred.”
Irish Legislator Maureen O’Sullivan Has Been Working With U.S. Congresswoman Jackie Speier.
In April 2016, Maureen O’Sullivan, a member of the Irish national assembly who has championed the Gibney campaign, sent a letter appeal to Congresswoman Jackie Speier, who following the 2015 retirement of Congressman George Miller of California, assumed the unofficial mantle of the House of Representatives minority’s watchdog on amateur sports abuse issues. According to O’Sullivan, Speier wrote back that she would “monitor” the output of the FOIA case and “look for ways to constructively engage in this ongoing legal process.”
Two years later, in March of last year, O’Sullivan met in Washington with Speier during an American trip. According to the Times of London, Irish edition, Speier told O’Sullivan that she was bringing the curious circumstances of the 2010 actions by ICE and USCIS in the matter of the Gibney citizenship application to the attention of the House Judiciary Committee.
With the results of last November’s midterm elections, the Democrat minority in the House has become the majority. The former ranking minority member of the Judiciary Committee, Jerry Nadler, is now its chair. While Nadler is cited most prominently for his possible stewardship of the timing and execution of efforts to impeach Trump, Nadler also sits in the key position of pressuring Trump’s DHS to do something about Gibney.
The U.S. Center for SafeSport Is Investigating Gibney.
Though it is not a government entity, the new U.S. Center for SafeSport still has a significant quasi-official role to play, should it choose to reverse its early weak pattern of actions on legacy abuse cases and aggressively exercise its limited authority.
Last year the center accepted a formal request, also by Ireland’s O’Sullivan, to investigate Gibney. The basis of O’Sullivan’s complaint was both the 1991 Tampa rape and Gibney’s mysterious and brief history as a coach at the USA Swimming-sanctioned North Jeffco swim club in the Denver suburb of Arvada, Colorado, upon his arrival in the U.S.
The immigration file excerpts revealed under my FOIA settlement include a heavily redacted letter to Gibney from an American team offering a coaching job here. It is not known if this was the team in Colorado. Swimming insiders believe the offer was engineered by the American Swimming Coaches Association, though the long-time head of this group, John Leonard, denies this. At the time of Gibney’s move to this country, one of the Leonard office’s lieutenants was Peter Banks, a former assistant coach for Gibney at his club out of Newpark Comprehensive School in County Dublin. Banks’s own career has included stints back and forth: on the U.S. Olympic team staff; as the performance director of Swim Ireland, the national program; and now back here as a high school and club coach in Florida.
Gibney left the Colorado club under the cloud of a new sexual misconduct allegation, and has bounced around the U.S., in a succession of non-swimming jobs — in that state until 2000, and in several other states ever since. He was most recently confronted by anti-abuse activist Daly in Altamonte Springs, Florida.
(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)