Below is the full text of the article in the Irish edition of London’s Sunday Times. It is reprinted with permission. © Times Newspapers Limited 2015
Disgraced coach Gibney investigated in America
By Justine McCarthy
15 March 2015
AMERICAN police investigated a complaint of sexual assault made by a young swimmer against George Gibney, the former Irish national coach, a year after his prosecution for sexually abusing and raping minors collapsed in Ireland.
The Arvada Police Department (APD) in Colorado has confirmed it received a report in October 1995 that Gibney either “pinched” a swimmer or “snapped the swimmer’s swimsuit” while he was employed as a coach by the North Jeffco Parks & Recreation District.
“In 1995, the APD was advised by a citizen that Mr Gibney was working in Arvada,” said Jill McGranahan, its public-relations coordinator. “In investigating this matter, the APD learnt of an alleged incident involving a local swimmer who was a juvenile, under 18. The APD was unable to establish that any crime had occurred.
“At about the same time, the APD learnt that Mr Gibney was no longer employed in Arvada. [We] confirmed that he had been charged with child sexual abuse in Ireland, but not convicted.”
Gibney left Ireland in 1994 after the High Court ruled he could not adequately defend himself against the charges because of the time lapse since some of the alleged incidents, dating from the 1960s to the early 1990s.
The Director of Public Prosecutions decided not to apply for his extradition from America following a second garda investigation, which was launched when new complainants reported that he had sexually abused them as minors. Gibney now resides in Florida and calls himself John, not George.
Last week Frances Fitzgerald, the justice minister, wrote to Nóirín O’Sullivan, the garda commissioner, asking her to review the Gibney case. It followed questions to Enda Kenny, the taoiseach, in the Dail from Maureen O’Sullivan, an independent TD. “I’ve spoken to the taoiseach and the minister, and I’m aware of their great concern about this issue,” O’Sullivan said.
The garda press office declined to comment, but said all complaints of abuse are “thoroughly investigated”. It issued an appeal to victims to contact gardai.
“We appreciate that the emotional and physical pain that victims of sexual and child sexual abuse may be suffering can make it difficult for them to come forward, but we would appeal to anyone who has suffered such crimes to contact us,” said a garda spokeswoman. “All complaints received will be treated in the strictest of confidence, with compassion, and investigated in the fullest possible manner.”
Irvin Muchnick, a California-based journalist who operates the Concussion Inc news website, has applied under the Freedom of Information act to America’s Department of Homeland Security for Gibney’s immigration file. He wants to establish how the Irishman acquired an entry visa and a resident’s green card.
Gibney has lived in various parts of America since he left Ireland, including Utah, California and Colorado.
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