Independent TD Maureen O’Sullivan; George Gibney; and journalist Irvin Muchnick
Further to Independent TD Maureen O’Sullivan writing to Shellie Pfohl – head of the new US Center for SafeSport – to formally request an investigation into former Irish swimming coach George Gibney….
US journalist Irvin Muchnick, of Concussion Inc., reports that the US Center for SafeSport has opened an investigation into Gibney.
Mr Muchnick writes:
The SafeSport Center’s investigation begins as O’Sullivan engages with American politicians closely identified with the youth sports coach abuse issue in this country — principally Congresswoman Jackie Speier of California.
This development also coincides with Congressional hearings this week in which Tim Hinchey, CEO of USA Swimming, and other national sport governing body heads and Olympic officials are being called on the carpet after the scandal of Larry Nassar, the prolific molester doctor of USA Gymnastics, raised the problem to its highest profile yet.
In a May 7 letter to O’Sullivan, the SafeSport Center’s Jocelyn Shafer confirmed that it was undertaking the investigation that had been requested …Shafer said the investigation was being overseen Malia Arrington, the center’s chief operating officer under CEO Shellie Pfohl.
Former Irish swimming coach George 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.
He sought and won a controversial High Court judicial review in 1994 which quashed all the charges against him.
After this, he left Ireland for Edinburgh, Scotland and then the US.
Gibney 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 March 2015, it was reported that police in Colorado, America, investigated a complaint of sexual assault made by a young swimmer against Gibney in October 1995 – a year after the sexual abuse and rape charges against him were dropped in Ireland.
At the time of the complaint, Gibney was working as a coach in the North Jeffco Parks and Recreation District.
The Arvada Police Department in Colorado couldn’t establish if any crime had been committed.
US journalist Irvin Muchnick, of Concussion Inc, has previously reported that the police officer who investigated the complaint made in North Jeffco was the mother of a swimmer at North Jeffco.
Attempts by Mr Muchnick to obtain the 1995 Arvada police report have been unsuccessful as the local government has refused to release it.
Mr Muchnick further reports that this week, in an email answering some of the first questions posed by US Center for SafeSport, Ms O’Sullivan has written:
“He [Gibney] has been in the US since the mid to late 90’s; we know he coached in Arvada, Colorado. We know he was a board member of a programme for youth at risk and was chair of a church’s eye clinic mission in Peru.
“We know our police expressed concerns to US authorities in ’95, ’98 and 2001.
“We also know that he applied for US citizenship in 2010 but this was rejected because he had lied on his application [as shown by investigative journalist Irvin Muchnick’s FOIA case with Judge Charles R. Breyer in U.S. District Court in California].
“While my country has a lot of questions to answer we believe so has the US.
“Who facilitated him into the US in the first place; what type of visa did he have; how was he offered employment in the US; why is he allowed continued residency in the US particularly as his application for citizenship was denied. Did the American Swimming Coaches Association assist him in re-locating to the US?”