Is ICE Bust of Abusive Mexican Gymnastics Coach a Harbinger of Government Action on Ireland’s George Gibney?

Published December 17th, 2019, Uncategorized

PREVIOUSLY:

“U.S. Government Does Not Deny Active End Game of George Gibney Investigation,” November 12, https://concussioninc.net/?p=14065

by Irvin Muchnick

In what could be a sign that George Gibney is about to be caught in the dragnet that is the current federal government campaign to root out undesirable non-natives residing in this country, the Department of Justice, in coordination with the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), has announced that it is seeking to revoke the naturalized American citizenship of José Vilchis, a former Olympic gymnastics coach and native of Mexico.

Justice says Vilchis sexually abused young athletes in the Chicago area, going back to 1985. In addition, ICE says Vilchis fraudulently attained citizenship in 1997 by lying about this history in his application.

I was tipped to this story by a source close to the work of the federal grand jury in New York that is investigating USA Swimming abuse cover-ups and insurance fraud, and in the process looking into revoking the permanent resident alien status of two-time Irish Olympic swimming head coach George Gibney. The New York investigators are exploring his extradition back to Ireland on dozens of abuse and rape allegations. At least one of the incidents happened in Tampa, Florida, in 1991, just before Gibney was awarded a visa under the special Donnelly diversity lottery program for Irish citizens wishing to move to the U.S.

The Vilchis prosecution was reported by California’s Imperial Valley News at https://www.imperialvalleynews.com/index.php/news/health-news/8-news/20271-justice-department-seeks-to-denaturalize-chicago-area-gymnastics-coach-and-former-olympian-jose-vilchis-who-sexually-abused-multiple-minor-female-athletes.html.

Mindful not to stoke false hope for Gibney watchers, I take care here to distinguish what is cause for optimism from the Vilchis case from what may be agonizingly divergent facts. Of course, different facts wouldn’t necessarily eliminate a different but equally fruitful effort to bring Gibney to justice. However, a different effort it may well be.

When I asked the source whether they were pointing me to Vilchis expressly because his case is being actively regarded as a template for the disposition of the Gibney matter, or merely because there are certain obvious parallels, the source fell coyly silent.

So here goes the rundown.

The Catch-22 wrinkle of the Gibney scenario is precisely that he is not a U.S. citizen. The peculiarity noted by U.S. District Court Judge Charles R. Breyer, in his 2016 decision in my Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit for Gibney’s immigration records, is that Gibney was denied naturalized citizenship in his 2010 application because he lied on it to the question of whether he had ever been charged with a crime. In fact, Gibney had been indicted in Ireland in 1993 on 27 counts of child sexual abuse, but the indictment got quashed the next year by a controversial technical ruling by the Irish Supreme Court.

Activists in the campaign to eject Gibney from the U.S. want that ruling revisited, amid some indication from recent law that the Irish Supreme Court would do so. They also want Gibney tried on additional allegations that have come to light in the quarter of a century since he moved to this country.

A complication for the federal investigators who have been scrutinizing Gibney ever since the settlement of my FOIA case at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in 2017 is that while the coach lied — and unsuccessfully, as it turned out — in his 2010 citizenship application, he may not have told a technical lie on his Donnelly visa application. The Donnelly paperwork likely was submitted just before his indictment; moreover, it was accompanied by a bizarre “Certificate of Character” from an Irish police precinct stating that Gibney, who was known to be about to be arrested, had a clean bill of health.

And if there was some kind of later green card renewal application, Gibney might not have had to lie on it, since the renewal application form does not seem to ask for recertification of all the representations from the original application.

Still, Judge Breyer, in 2016, questioned why the outcome of the failed citizenship application redounded to no other consequences for Gibney, whom I call the most notorious at-large sex criminal in the history of global sports. “We’re not a haven for pedophiles,” Breyer said.

This principle is evident in the Vilchis case, even though the mechanisms for catching the criminal vary. So the questions going forward are two-fold:

1. Is Gibney considered to be in the same legal basket as Vilchis, since both lied on their citizenship applications, even though only Vilchis got away with the lie for citizenship purposes?

2. Even if the answer to the first question is “no,” will the grand jury investigators for Geoffrey Berman, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, still find grounds for Gibney’s removal by other means? I have reported, and Berman’s office has not denied, that they are examining Gibney’s actions in the late 1990s, when he was residing at his first U.S. stop, Colorado, and chairing a church children’s medical mission, sponsored by a Catholic parish in the Denver area, that worked in Peru. This “International Peru Children’s Eye Clinic Foundation” emerged at a moment when a Peruvian Catholic sect, Sodalitium Christianae Vitae — whose founder and other leaders are now well documented to have engaged in sexual abuse, kidnapping, and other crimes — was expanding to the U.S. at the invitation of the Archdiocese of Denver.

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 paypal@muchnick.net.