by Irvin Muchnick
Last week the attorney general of Colorado, Phil Weiser, released an independent review of the history of priest sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Denver and the Dioceses of Colorado Springs and Pueblo.
In what was surely an incomplete accounting, but at least a nice try at recording an awful legacy, the report — under the direction of special master Bob Troyer, a former United States attorney — identified 166 Colorado children who were victimized by 43 Roman Catholic pastors since 1950. The 263-page document can be read at https://coag.gov/app/uploads/2019/10/Special-Masters-Report_10.22.19_FINAL.pdf.
Most of the newly uncovered cases were in the deep past, and none had obvious connections to George Gibney, the former Irish Olympic swimming coach who coached briefly in Colorado in 1995 in the wake of dozens of criminal charges of child sexual abuse in his native country, and lived in the Centennial State into the 2000s. (He is now believed to be in Altamonte Springs, Florida, north of Orlando.)
But as we’ve been reporting, investigators associated with a New York federal grand jury probe of USA Swimming abuse cover-ups and insurance fraud are exploring revocation of Gibney’s American permanent resident alien status. Maureen O’Sullivan, an Irish legislator who has carried her cause to Congresswoman Jackie Speier of California, is spearheading the latest campaign for Gibney’s extradition back to Ireland to face both revived and brand-new criminal allegations.
Of course, non-priest abuse under the brand of the Catholic Church was not the charge of the Troyer Report. Still, there is every reason to leverage the raw investigative information of the Troyer team in support of the current Gibney investigation.
The full known Gibney details to date are in the July second edition of my 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. However, much remains unknown or not pinned down; the scope of the task of dot-connection here overwhelms the resources of independent journalism.
We have yet to identify the priest with whom Gibney led a church medical mission to Peru in the late 1990s. We have yet to learn the name of the parish they represented. In my email canvass of all 140 churches in the Denver area, a monsignor told me that Gibney’s “International Peru Eye Clinic Foundation” coincided with the expansion from Peru into Colorado of a Catholic sect, Sodalitium Christiane Vitae, whose founder and origin leadership have since been exposed as sexual predators and kidnappers. Though the Sodalitium did not yet have an established affiliate in the Denver Archdiocese during Gibney’s time there, local Catholic sources recall Colorado-to-Peru medical mission work through that period by the Marian Community, a female service organization with close ties to the Sodalitium.
Release of last week’s Troyer Report was hailed by the group Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. In recent years, SNAPP had picketed Archdiocese headquarters to protest the Colorado harboring of Peru’s Sodalitium as it dispersed operations throughout the Western Hemisphere in anticipation of a flood of abuse lawsuits in its home country.
What related information might Troyer have left on the cutting-room floor, since it did not fit the format of his mission, and how might it help propel the Gibney investigation? The federal government needs to find out. Together, the state and the feds should conduct supplementary interviews with Colorado priests, parishioners, and church administrators, and cross-check travel dates and medical mission rosters with Peru’s Ministry of Women and Vulnerable Populations, to get to the sordid bottom of the Gibney story.
As with the as-yet-unrealized coordination between Ireland’s director of public prosecutions and law enforcement authorities in the U.S. government and in Florida (where Gibney raped and impregnated a teen Irish swimmer on a training trip years before moving here), there is no established blueprint for background dialogue between the Colorado attorney general and federal prosecutors. What is required at this point is something without a playbook: the urgency of official imagination.
AG Wieser’s office did not respond to Concussion Inc.’s request for comment. I gave up on trying to contact Troyer, the former Colorado-based U.S. attorney; he is said to have retired from the law to run a cricket farm.