‘Where Is George Gibney?’ How About ‘Where Is Peter Banks?’

‘Not Making Waves’ … From Ireland’s Broadsheet
October 6, 2020
Mark Horgan BBC Podcast Nails George Gibney Cohort Peter Banks For the 1993 Job Offer Letter That Enabled the Rapist Irish Olympic Coach’s U.S. Visa
October 8, 2020


PREVIOUSLY:

“George Gibney Didn’t Vanish (full text from the Irish news site Broadsheet),” August 27, https://concussioninc.net/?p=14564

“No, Britain’s Guardian Newspaper — I Didn’t ‘Try Unsuccessfully to Have George Gibney Deported From the United States.’ Also, There’s No Past Tense About It.,” September 9, https://concussioninc.net/?p=14576

“George Gibney’s Family and Friends in High Places: Still the Elephant in the Room of Anglo-Irish Media Coverage of the ‘Vanished’ Sex Criminal Irish Olympic Swimming Coach,” September 13, https://concussioninc.net/?p=14585

“Anglo-Irish Media’s George Gibney Stench Gets Worse: Celebrated Editor of Irish Times Was Father of Supreme Court Justice Who Helped Gibney Escape Justice (Also, of Course, Father of Gibney’s Lawyer),” September 21, https://concussioninc.net/?p=14609

“When George Gibney Lived in Colorado (And Even Coached Swimming There), Two Suburban Denver Police Departments Learned All About Him. They Kicked the Can Down the Road.,” September 27, https://concussioninc.net/?p=14614

“‘Where Is George Gibney?’ Podcast Probably Won’t Explain His Vulnerability to American Criminal Charges in His 1991 Rape and Impregnation of a 17-Year-Old Irish Swimmer in Tampa — So We Will,” September 30, https://concussioninc.net/?p=14626

“Not Making Waves” (full text from Ireland’s Broadsheet), October 6, https://concussioninc.net/?p=14638

***

by Irvin Muchnick

Thanks to the BBC’s Where Is George Gibney?, those who didn’t already know now know where George Gibney is. He is in Altamonte Springs, Florida.

The former Irish Olympic swim coach hasn’t raised a stopwatch in anger since 1995. It remains unclear whether there is strong public or media appetite for bringing to justice the most notorious at-large sex criminal in the history of global sports — and, equally importantly, for calling to account a justice system and international youth sports governing bias that make inevitable the continued output and cover-up of George Gibneys. What does command tremendous lurid interest, unquestionably, is “raising awareness” of this particular monster.

In an attempt to cut through the noise of a voluminous podcast without a discernible end game, I propose a different question: Where is Peter Banks?

More about Banks in a bit. First, let’s explain why I raise the question. In my nearly decade of covering cross-border coach abuse cover-ups, Gibney himself is just the single worst example of this problem.

Yesterday CNN Brasil began airing findings of its investigation of Brazilian-American coach Alex Pussieldi. CNN is springboarding from the 2014 coverage of my then collaborator Tim Joyce and myself. We documented how Pussieldi, while in Florida, imported swimmers from Central and South America and the Middle East, personally became the legal ward of and housed many of them, and peeped on his charges through a hidden camera in the bathroom of his house, while also maintaining videotapes of his sex with underage boys. Jack Nelson, Pussieldi’s Hall of Fame coaching boss at the time, joined with the Fort Lauderdale Parks and Recreation Department and the swimming writer for the local newspaper, the Sun Sentinel, in covering up the episode; Pussieldi’s celebrated Florida coaching career forged on.

Rick Curl, a prominent Maryland coach, finally did prison time for his long-known and covered-up abuse of a swimmer. Curl’s delay in justice was eased by an interlude in Australia.

Sean Hutchison, now exposed as the groomer and abuser of gold medalist Ariana Kukors, was, along with Australia’s Scott Volkers and others, among those who did the shuttle to and from Buenos Aires.

The American Swimming Coaches Association (ASCA), which according to its long-time former chief John Leonard is not in the business of protecting children “in any way, shape, or form,” has boasted the member service of a law firm on retainer to troubleshoot visa issues.

In 2012 the California Supreme Court ordered USA Swimming to file under seal thousands of pages of internal documents exposing how the organization handled allegations of sexual abuse by coaches. A field office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation soon subpoenaed this trove of papers.

Currently, a federal grand jury is investigating how the group’s legal defense custodians, which included a reinsurance subsidiary headquartered offshore, in Barbados, shuffled assets to mitigate scores of abuse claims. Additionally, the grand jury is considering whether the executive leadership’s cover-ups rose from the level of civil to criminal.

An offshoot of the grand jury probe remains unreported except at Concussion Inc.: an investigation of George Gibney by the human trafficking finance specialist at the Justice Department’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery office.

The American media seem to have no greater interest in exploring these deeper questions than the Irish have in anything more purposeful than hounding Gibney to his grave, 30-plus years after the damage was done.

Which brings us back to Peter Banks, a swimming coach with the highest credentials in both Ireland and the United States, and with unmistakable narrative links to Gibney. Banks has never been effectively confronted to address obvious questions.

Since 2018, Banks has been a swimming coach at Berkeley Preparatory School in Tampa, Florida. As London’s Sunday Times recently reported, he is seen in archival video from years ago that is shown in a new Netflix documentary about John DuPont, the deranged corporate heir and Olympic sports benefactor. (DuPont’s murder of Dave Schultz, a wrestler with whom he was obsessed, was the subject of Steve Carell’s portrayal in the dramatic movie Foxcatcher.) In the documentary, DuPont mingles with Banks and various swimmers on a visit to the swimming complex at Newpark Comprehensive School in Blackrock, County Dublin.

Gibney, under whom Banks served as an assistant coach for the Trojans, the team that used the Newpark pool, is not in the Netflix footage.

Banks moved to America, where he developed Olympian Brooke Bennett, became a naturalized citizen, joined the U.S. Olympic coaching staff, and worked under Leonard on the staff at ASCA. The latter role was in the period when Gibney fled here, was offered a coaching job, and indeed coached, briefly, in Colorado.

In my Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) case against the Department of Homeland Security for documents from Gibney’s immigration files, U.S. District Court Judge Charles Breyer reviewed all the records and ordered the release of many of them, some in redacted form. Breyer noted that I was motivated, in part, to find whether there was evidence ASCA had “greased the wheels for Gibney’s relocation.”

Peter Banks returned to his native country as the high performance director of Swim Ireland (successor of the old Irish Amateur Swimming Association, which was rebranded after the widespread abuse scandals that landed several top-tier coaches in prison, though not Gibney himself). During Banks’s tenure back home, which ended in 2016, there was a marked increase in ASCA clinics and commerce in Ireland.

Returning to the States, Banks coached for a Florida club called Pipeline Swimming. In January 2018, a month after the settlement of my FOIA case at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, I renewed requests for comment by Banks on his connections to Gibney. I also asked the owner and head coach of the team, Rene Piper.

Seven months later, I finally heard back — from Piper. She emailed that she had been abiding by Banks’s request not to respond to me. But as of August 2018 “Peter Banks is no longer affiliated with PIPELINE Swimming…. We had strategically chosen for the swimmers’ calendar, not to renew his contract at the end of the long course season and for reasons not to be disclosed. This could change should he decide to break agreements we have.”

I observed to Piper that her cryptic communication invited responsible speculation. “That sounds fair,” she replied.

Banks slid over to Berkeley Prep (which, incidentally, is the alma mater of President Trump’s former secretary of homeland security, Kirstjen Nielsen). A school spokesman issued a statement: “Berkeley Preparatory School’s number one priority is the emotional and physical safety of each child in our care. As we do with all employees, we executed a thorough background check on Mr. Banks, and spoke with references. We believe him to be an asset to our swimmers, and look forward to his work as one of the many assistant coaches in our program.”

We don’t know where Mark Horgan, the narrator and producer of Where Is George Gibney?, stands on all this. What we do know is that Horgan has been following Gibney around central Florida whenever he drives to a convenience store for a carton of eggs. Horgan has even switched cars to conceal from Gibney that he is being followed.

He’s watching him like a hawk.

=====

Comments are closed.