A woman tells how she was raped by former Irish swimming coach George Gibney during a swimming trip to Florida in 1991 (top) in a video by US journalist Irvin Muchnick which contains footage from a Prime Time episode on Gibney in 2006 (above)
At 8pm Irish time.
US journalist Irvin Muchnick posted a video containing footage from an RTE Prime Time episode – originally broadcast on January 12, 2006 – in which then reporter Clare Murphy tracked down former Irish Olympic swim coach George Gibney in Calistoga, California and confronted him.
It also includes testimonies of some of Gibney’s victims.
Readers will recall Mr Muchnick’s ongoing efforts to secure Gibney’s immigration file from the Department of Homeland Security, under the Freedom of Information Act, in the US.
Gibney was charged with 27 counts of indecency against young swimmers and of carnal knowledge of girls under the age of 15 in April, 1993.
But he sought and won a High Court judicial review in 1994 which quashed all the charges against him.
The review was made possible after a Supreme Court decision that initiating the prosecution against Gibney infringed his right to a fair trial.
After this, Gibney left Ireland for Edinburgh, Scotland and then the US.
The swimming coach was granted a visa during a visit to the United States in 1992 – seemingly aided by a Garda character reference – a year after people who had been abused by him started to speak up and organise themselves.
In addition, a 2010 application by Gibney to obtain US citizenship – some months after Evin Daly, of the Florida-based advocacy group One Child International alerted the US government of Gibney’s past in Ireland – was rejected.
But he remains in the States.
The revelations about his 1992 visa and 2010 citizenship bid have previously been revealed by Mr Irvin.
In the Prime Time footage above, Ms Murphy stated:
“While George Gibney may be notorious at home, his US record is squeaky clean, however local police take his presence so seriously that the area’s FBI field office has been informed.”
Further to this…
Mr Irvin reports:
“Prime Time’s throwaway line that Gibney had a “squeaky clean” record in America is debatable.
In 2015 Commander Dave Pickett of the investigations bureau of the police department in Wheat Ridge, Colorado, gave us the following statement:
‘On September 20th, 2000, the Wheat Ridge Police Department was notified that an alleged sex offender named George Gibney was living within our jurisdiction. Detective Lila Cohen investigated the situation. Detective Cohen contacted the reporting party (RP) who was the president of an accounting company that employed Gibney. Detective Cohen was told that:
* The RP had fired Gibney the day prior
* The RP had discovered concerning information regarding Gibney on the Internet
* Gibney had gone to Peru on behalf of a children’s eye clinic
* Gibney was on an advisory board for the Department of Youth Corrections
* Gibney may be a coach for the North Jeffco Swim Club
Detective Cohen notified the Arvada Police Department where the North Jeffco Swim Club is located. Sergeant Rzappa advised Detective Cohen that she had already received information concerning Gibney. Detective Cohen found that Gibney was on the advisory board of the Metropolitan State College Lab School at Lookout Mountain. Detective Cohen advised the person in charge of the Lab School regarding the allegations that Gibney was a sex offender.
She also advised that the Wheat Ridge Police Department had no indications of specific allegations in Colorado.
Because there were no allegations regarding any crime in this jurisdiction, no investigation outside of notification was done.’
“Jill McGranahan of the Arvada police then told us of an incident from five years before Gibney’s employer reported him to the Wheat Ridge police:
‘In late October, 1995, the APD was notified by a citizen that Mr. Gibney was employed by the North Jeffco Parks and Recreation District, and that he had previously been accused of child abuse in Ireland. The APD confirmed that Mr. Gibney had been charged with child sexual abuse in Ireland, but that he was not convicted on any of the charges. During its investigation, the APD learned that Mr. Gibney was suspected of possibly pinching (or snapping the swimsuit of) a North Jeffco swimmer.
‘The APD investigated this allegation, but was unable to establish that a crime had occurred. Shortly thereafter, the APD learned that Mr. Gibney was no longer employed by North Jeffco. The APD had no other involvement in this matter.’
Mr Muchnick concludes:
“Many people, in and out of law enforcement, in Ireland and the U.S. alike, have had Gibney on watch lists, formal or otherwise, for a long time. The missing piece remains the revival of the 1990s prosecution of him in Ireland.
“The original prosecution collapsed thanks to a Supreme Court statute-of-limitations ruling that is not, to put it mildly, destined to go down in the annals of thoughtful jurisprudence: one of the sitting justices, Susan Denham (later the chief justice), did not recuse herself even though she was the sister of Gibney’s lawyer, Patrick Gageby.
“Nearly a quarter of a century later, it is time to bring the Gibney nightmare to a close. It is time for the Irish Garda’s Director of Public Prosecutions to move purposefully on the call of Maureen O’Sullivan, a Teachta Dála (member of Parliament), to reconsider both the old criminal charges against Gibney and the many new ones on which information has emerged since he first got off the hook.
“It is time for the American legislators most closely associated with awareness of sexual assault in general, and statutory solutions for the widespread problem of amateur sports coach sex abuse in particular, to step up to the plate and assist TD O’Sullivan in these efforts.
“The legislators I have in mind include Senator Dianne Feinstein and Congresswoman Jackie Speier.
“Finally, it is time to hold accountable whoever in the American swimming establishment might have been responsible for enabling Gibney’s long safe harbor here.
“The ugly truth is that George Gibney is no longer just another name in the half-buried history of the dark side of youth sports. He is, officially, a two-nation affair of state.”