by Irvin Muchnick
In response to a legal threat by George Gibney’s old home base, the Newpark Comprehensive School, the feisty Irish news site Broadsheet.ie has tweaked a few words in its article four days ago about the release of our ebook THE GEORGE GIBNEY CHRONICLES: What the Hunt For the Most Notorious At-Large Sex Criminal in the History of Global Sports Has Told Us About the Sports Establishments and Governments on Two Continents.
This episode — very common in interactions of the First Amendment-deprived Irish media — is comical. But I thank Derek Lowry, the principal of Newpark, for his ham-handed display, which underscores themes of the ebook (and also generates free publicity for it).
At https://www.broadsheet.ie/2019/02/25/bringing-gibney-to-book/, Broadsheet originally wrote:
“The Gibney Chronicles also examines the legal status of a connecting crime on American soil: Gibney’s rape of a 17-year-old girl in Tampa, Florida, in 1991 while on a training trip with Trojans swim team from Newpark Comprehensive school.”
Principal Lowry immediately ordered research into the historical records to assist Ireland’s national police, the Garda, as well as the Tampa police, the Hillsborough County state attorney, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Justice, in coordinating climactic efforts to have Gibney deported and extradited.
What Lowry actually did was to fire off an email to John Ryan of Broadsheet, complaining (with the delightful collective-noun-subject / plural-verb agreement used by English speakers everywhere except in the U.S.):
“Trojans Swim team do not have any connection to the school but have used Newpark Sports Centre for training for many years. The club pay rent for the use of the pool but there is no other connection with the school and the members of the club do not attend the school. Also, I wonder if you could clarify if the statement made is a direct quote from the book which is about to be published as this would also be a matter of concern to us.”
Ryan (with what I suspect was an electronic sigh) changed the passage accordingly:
“The Gibney Chronicles also examines the legal status of a connecting crime on American soil: Gibney’s rape of a 17-year-old girl in Tampa, Florida, in 1991 while on a training trip with Trojans, a swim team which uses the facilities at Newpark Comprehensive school.” [emphasis added]
There are some serious outputs from this nonsense. The most important is that Lowry and Newpark have just brilliantly illustrated what I call, in the introduction to The George Gibney Chronicles, the “draconian and censorious” legal landscape on which Irish journalists have to function. This makes all the more admirable the decision by Broadsheet, in 2016, to stand alone in writing about the disgrace of Supreme Court Justice Susan Denham’s failure to recuse herself during the court’s 1994 decision to spring Gibney on a technicality from a 27-count indictment for child sexual assault. As everyone knew but was afraid to say out loud, Gibney’s lawyer, Patrick Gageby, is Denham’s sister. This is the kind of conflict that would be howled into ridicule here, but in Ireland is par for the 18-hole cronyism course. See “The Chief Justice, Her Brother And How George Gibney Got Away,” https://www.broadsheet.ie/2016/04/29/the-chief-justice-her-brother-and-how-george-gibney-got-away/.
As for the logistical distinction between the entities “Trojans” and “Newpark Comprehensive School,” this is one without a meaningful difference in the long, sad, multi-theatre slog of youth swim coach sports abuse the world over. I am quite familiar with the legalistic arguments of mouthpieces and bureaucrats like Lowry in defense of their see-no-evil-hear-no-evil institutions, which have successfully denied, by the hair of their chinny-chin-chins, any smidgen of a hint of an iota of accountability for the heinous acts and crimes committed right under noses pointed to the sky.
When Greg Winslow molested a teen girl swimmer under his tutelage at the club program which used the facilities at Arizona State University (as reported by Concussion Inc. in 2013; use the site search tool for details), this didn’t have anything to do with Arizona State University, either. Why, of course not. Winslow was merely an assistant to the university’s head swimming coach, Mike Chasson. Who, by the way, owned the age-group youth team. Which was called Sun Devil Aquatics — same mascot, logo, and branding of the intercollegiate team. What a coincidence!
When Alex Pussieldi assaulted and battered a Mexican swimmer he had boarded and warded — and peeped on — on the deck of the aquatic facility at the site of the International Swimming Hall of Fame complex in Fort Lauderdale, Florida (as reported by Concussion Inc. in 2014; use the site search tool for details), this didn’t have anything to do with the Hall of Fame. I mean, come on, let’s not get silly here. This was just a team renting the pool through the city parks and recreation department. Oh sure, the team was owned by a Hall of Fame coach, Jack Nelson, who also was credibly accused of molesting open water legend Diana Nyad, another Hall of Famer, back when he had coached her at Pine Crest School … but so what? (Nelson’s club, Parks & Rec, and a Fort Lauderdale News Sentinel reporter named Sharon Robb combined to cover up Pussieldi’s assault and other evidence of his wide abuse, and he was allowed to cheerfully prowl the pool decks of Florida for another decade.)
Turning back to Principal Lowry’s Newpark Comprehensive School in Blackrock, County Dublin, the archives show that the school was all over the George Gibney case, like ugly on an ape. In 1988 Gibney landed a diversity lottery visa to the U.S., a kind of migratory ace in the hole. In 1992, with an indictment bearing down on Gibney, a Garda precinct station produced something called a “Certificate of Character.”
On April 6, 1993 — according to the thorough timeline from Broadsheet that is reprinted with permission in The George Gibney Chronicles — Gibney was indicted.
According the Irish government’s 1998 Murphy Inquiry, Newpark said Gibney had been terminated “more than two months earlier.”
THE GEORGE GIBNEY CHRONICLES: What the Hunt For the Most Notorious At-Large Sex Criminal in the History of Global Sports Has Told Us About the Sports Establishments and Governments on Two Continents is available for $3.49 US at amzn.to/2SmU16c. If you don’t have a Kindle-compatible device, you can get a PDF copy emailed to you by remitting $3.49 through PayPal to [email protected].