From top: Former Irish swimming coach George Gibney; US journalist Irvin Muchnick
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.
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.
It’s understood Gibney may have lied in this application – as was revealed by the exhaustive efforts to obtain information on his visa application by US journalist and author of The George Gibney Chronicles Irvin Muchnick.
Readers may also recall how, in March 2015, it emerged 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 & Recreation District.
The Arvada Police Department in Colorado couldn’t establish if any crime had been committed.
Last year, US journalist Ivin Muchnick, on his website Concussion Inc, reported that the police officer who investigated the complaint made in North Jeffco was the mother of a swimmer at North Jeffco.
Further to this…
In 2000, a separate investigation into Gibney was carried out by then Detective Lila Cohen, of Wheat Ridge police, also in Colorado.
[Ms Cohen is now a therapist in Denver, Colorado, by the name of Lila Adams].
Ms Adams’ police report was obtained by Mr Muchnick and is available to read in full here.
In it, she describes taking a call from a woman on September 20, 2000, who had just fired Gibney the day previous after coming across “concerning” information about him on the internet.
She said she fired him because he had “lied” to her.
The woman, who used to be a swim coach, told the then detective that Gibney was an Olympic swim coach in Ireland, had been arrested and charged with sexually assaulting children and then moved to the US.
From the then Detective Cohen’s police report:
“[Redacted] advised that she knew that Gibney went to Peru on behalf of an eye clinic for children. She said Gibney works with children in his parish and is a volunteer in Golden at a Youth Detention Center.
“[Redacted] further advised that the internet articles she read said he also coached the North Jeffco Swim Club in Colorado.
“[Redacted] said the articles she found on the internet were on Google under Gibney. She said she found further information in Irish Times.com and Ireland.com. She said she thought Gibney was the director of an Advisory Board for the Youth Department of Corrections. She said he is also the Chairman of the International Peru Eye Clinic Foundation.”
“I told [redacted] that I had been sent articles last year concerning Gibney and concerns that he lived in our city at that time.
“I told her that he did not have to register as a sex offender and that he had not committed any crimes here that I knew of.
“I did tell her that I was very concerned that Gibney was working with children, especially children with issues such as being in detention or having eye problems. I further advised her that I was concerned that Gibney may travel with children in his parish to Peru.
“[Redacted] did not know the church Gibney belonged to. She agreed to send me the information she located on the internet.
“I attempted to find an advisory board through the Youth Department of Corrections but it is a State-run agency and therefore does not have one. I called Lookout Mountain and was told the same. I know the members on the board for the Jefferson County Juvenile Assessment Center and Gibney is not on that.
“I called Arvada Police Department concerning the North Jeffco Swim Club and received a call back from Sergeant Jo Ann Rzeppa advising that she had investigated those allegations in 1995 and did not learn of any victims.
“[Redacted] advised that Gibney had access to a computer at work and when he was fired he was escorted to the door and did not have access to the computer. She asked if I wanted to come out and have someone look at it. I told her that I would have to send it to CBI [Colorado Bureau of Investigation] and she would be without it for several months as it would take low priority because a crime did not exist at this time.
“[Redacted] said she could be cooperative but she could not be without a computer for that long. She said she would have her computer expert check it and get back to me.
“[Redacted] told me that the place Gibney volunteers with young people is at the Lab School at Lookout Mountain. She said Bill Weiner is in charge of that and gave me his phone number, [….] She said Gibney is on the board for the Metropolitan State College Lab School at Lookout Mountain. On October 5, 2000, I called and spoke with Bill Weiner who advised that George Gibney is in fact on that board.
“I told him that Gibney had not committed a crime here that I knew of but had some information he should be aware of if Gibney was having contact with kids. He provided me his address and I mailed him a copy of the information given to me by [redacted].
“Nothing further to report at this time.”
Mr Muchnick has made several unsuccessful attempts to interview Ms Adams about her investigation into Gibney – and has been told by the Wheat Ridge police chief that the police department had “no intention or authority” to block such an interview – but it hasn’t come to fruition.
This is despite Mr Muchnick learning last month that she was about to be interviewed by an “Irish-Anglo broadcast team”.
In his own words, Mr Muchnick has said:
“What’s in the foreground is an understanding of what unfolded in Arvada and Wheat Ridge, the first stops of Gibney’s American odyssey: why he roamed free in Greater Denver while law enforcement there knew full well that he was a creep and a half, and worse, had gotten into the U.S. on false pretenses; and why the cops have provided no evidence that they utilized any creative tools while simply waiting for him to become the problem of his next community and his next state.”
He has also said:
“For the two suburban Denver police agencies, the key open questions are clearly, first, did they even communicate about Gibney with their own regional FBI field offices or other federal authorities?; and second, what was the nature of those communications and what was their upshot?
“Did they do anything to try to get Gibney sent back to Ireland? Or did they just “keep an eye on” him? If they indeed tried to make a case for deportation but failed, who in the bureaucratic chain blocked such a basic initiative of public safety and immigration rules enforcement?
Previously: George Gibney on Broadsheet