by Irvin Muchnick
The Sunday Times of London this week discovered that John du Pont, the deranged corporate heir who underwrote Olympic sports programs and murdered gold medal wrestler David Schultz — an episode dramatized in the movie Foxcatcher starring Steve Carell and Mark Ruffalo — visited George Gibney’s swimming complex at Newpark Comprehensive School in Blackrock, County Dublin.
Gibney, head coach of the Irish Olympic swimming team, emigrated to the United States on a diversity lottery visa in the mid-1990s after evading prosecution on 27 counts of sexual abuse of underage victims. His flight from justice was enabled by a procedural ruling of the Irish Supreme Court, which then included Justice (later Chief Justice) Susan Denham, sister of Gibney’s lawyer Patrick Gageby.
As of the airing of the first three parts of a BBC podcast series trivially entitled Where Is George Gibney? (in his 70s, he has been long known to be living in Altamonte Springs, Florida), Ireland’s online Broadsheet news site and Concussion Inc. remain, for more than four years, the only outlets to report this basic Denham-Gageby piece of the two-continent Gibney protection and cover-up matrix.
The John du Pont angle is a new find of Justine McCarthy of the Times, who spoke to former members of Gibney’s Irish swimming club, the Trojans. The swimmers recognized footage of du Pont, in a new Netflix documentary about the homicidal eccentric, on site at the Newpark School pool.
Gibney himself is not in the footage. However, his assistant coach Peter Banks does appear. Banks would move to the U.S.; become an American citizen and a member of the U.S. Olympic coaching staff; return to his native country as the head coach of Swim Ireland; and finally relocate yet again to Florida. Along the way, Banks helped direct John Leonard’s American Swimming Coaches Association, which, U.S. District Court Judge Charles R. Breyer observed in 2016, is suspected of “greas[ing] the wheels for Gibney’s relocation.”
The judge was referring to this reporter’s interest in an almost completely redacted copy of an American coaching job offer letter to Gibney, which was among the documents from his immigration records that got released by the government during my Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security. The case settled at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in 2017, spurring an ongoing U.S. investigation of Gibney by a human trafficking finance specialist at the Justice Department’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section.
The new American probe, related both to reconsideration of a Gibney prosecution in Ireland and to a federal grand jury investigation of USA Swimming for sexual abuse cover-ups and hiding assets from abuse victims in civil lawsuits here, likewise remains unreported except by Concussion Inc., Broadsheet, and the Irish sports podcast Off the Ball.
Some of the investigation focuses on Gibney’s activities as the purported head of a Colorado Catholic parish-sponsored children’s eye clinic mission in Peru, at a time when a Peruvian Catholic sect rife with abuse and criminality, Sodalitium Christianae Vitae, was gaining a foothold in the Archdiocese of Denver.
Du Pont is not the first known international sports figure with ties to Gibney. As reported here first in 2015, another was John Furlong, a native Irishman who presided over Canada’s hosting of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver before writing a bestselling autobiography. Furlong and Gibney overlapped for a period in the 1970s in Newpark Comprehensive School athletics. See https://concussioninc.net/?p=10506.
A Canadian journalist, Laura Robinson, wrote about omissions and deceptions in Furlong’s book regarding his movements between Ireland and Canada. Robinson also chronicled the accounts of former students at a missionary school in British Columbia, operated by the Catholic group Frontier Oblate Apostles, who say Furlong abused them. The students are members of “First Nations” populations, in the Canadian term parallel to the peoples referred to in the U.S. as American Indians or Native Americans.
Furlong sued Robinson for defamation in a case that never came to a definitive conclusion, largely because Furlong dropped it. U.S. First Amendment advocates say litigation of this sort is designed only to harass journalists and critics, and have a term for it: “Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation,” or SLAPP.
Meanwhile, investigation of the historical abuse allegations against Furlong became part of the work of a Canadian truth and reconciliation commission. The First Nations witnesses say a related investigation by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police was marred by bias and are calling for a new one. See https://www.cbc.ca/news/indigenous/lake-babine-day-school-students-rcmp-investigation-1.5632173.
Fuller background of the complaints of Furlong’s indigenous accusers is at their crowdsource funding page, https://www.gofundme.com/f/support-of-indigenous-complainants.
Following the Sunday Times report of the George Gibney-John du Pont connection, I searched anew for information on the George Gibney-John Furlong connection, and came up with a fresh nugget. In 1975, Furlong organized the relocation to Newpark School of a longstanding international youth basketball event called the Glen Abbey Tournament. A collection of incompletely labeled Irish newspaper archival articles, at https://ibb-history.blogspot.com/p/glen-abbey-tournament.html, includes one headlined “1975 Newpark International Tournament Replaces the Glen Abbey”:
“The First Annual Newpark International Classic will be held at Newpark Sports Centre Blackrock, Co. Dublin on April 4, 5 and 6. Formerly known as the Glen Abbey tournament when organised and presented by the St. Vincents Club, the tournament almost went by the board when due to economic difficulties and a reduction of the advertising budget the sponsor had to withdraw.
National basketball association P.R.O. John Furlong then decided the event should not be withdrawn from the calendar and proceeded to organise the tournament with no financial aid, and not in the name of the St. Vincents Club….”