Tag Archives: Irvin Muchnick

From top BBC Sounds/Second Captains podcast ‘Where Is George Gibney’; Former Swim Ireland head coach Peter Banks at the Rio Olympics in 2016; Irvin Muchnick

Credit where credit is due.

In the most recent of my unimpressed takes on the slickly produced rehash that had been the BBC Sounds podcast series Where Is George Gibney? to date, I challenged producer Mark Horgan to find “where is Peter Banks?”

Banks is the Irish-American swimming coach and former top Irish and American national swimming organization official who is clearly at the center of the narrative of Gibney’s flight to the United States, with assists from governments and sports institutions.

My expectation was that Horgan would not come through.

However, episode 7 of the podcast, which dropped yesterday, not only finds Banks but blows the story open, as he sputters through an interview obviously establishing – though Banks won’t admit it, claiming a memory lapse – that he was the person who engineered an American coaching job offer to Gibney.

The letter, in turn, enabled the completion of the diversity lottery visa undergirding Gibney’s escape from Irish justice, and from Ireland altogether.

Bravo.

This is explosive new information, not the throat-clearing and hype I had been criticising. It bodes well for the prospect of not just more drama, but also more substance, in next week’s episode, for which a confrontation with Gibney is being promoted, and for a final two “real time” episodes, processing the findings of the series and outlining possible pressure for official action ahead.

In the new episode, Horgan notes that the American job offer letter to Gibney had been revealed, in redacted form, by my Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security for material from his immigration file.

Horgan proceeds to land an interview with Banks in Tampa. Banks lives in the area as a swimming coach for Tampa’s Berkeley Preparatory School — his most recent American position after being bounced by Swim Ireland as the national team coach in 2016.

Fumbling and stammering, Banks can’t help himself. He recounts meeting for the last time with Gibney in Florida in 1993, when Gibney was there to pick up his green card.

This was before his indictment on 27 counts of illicit carnal knowledge of minors, and a year prior to the outrageous Irish Supreme Court ruling that quashed the charges because of time lapsed.

So Gibney was already plotting his getaway, and Banks was his tool.

Banks says he doesn’t remember authoring or directing a job offer letter. Yet he turns right around and adds that such a hypothetical letter must have come from Blue Wave Swimming, the program he had taken over in 1989 after years as an assistant under Gibney at the Trojans team out of Newpark Comprehensive School in Blackrock, County Dublin.

Banks is fooling no one but himself. His guilty conscience washes over the audio stronger than a butterfly stroke through water.

I continue to have quibbles with Horgan’s podcast, but at this point they should be registered as just that: quibbles.

He doesn’t mention (at least the podcast doesn’t yet mention) Banks’s post as a director of John Leonard’s American Swimming Coaches Association (ASCA), one of the most pernicious entities in the global cover-ups and cross-country movements of coaches accused (and sometimes ultimately criminally convicted) of sexual abuse of youth athletes in their charge.

Arguably, ASCA, a professional trade association, is more culpable than USA Swimming itself, the U.S. Olympic Committee national sport governing body, which is now under investigation by a federal grand jury for its cover-ups and shady insurance practices, the latter of which included a money-laundering offshore reinsurance subsidiary in Barbados.

I also don’t like the elliptical and chronologically scrambled accounts of the BBC’s stalking of Gibney and what I consider sometimes underwhelming information about his late-life lifestyle and activities. (To be fair, the podcast does now offer important new details on the coaching tree of abusers in Irish and British swimming, and on individuals who have aided and abetted Gibney in the U.S.)

And then there’s the connection of Supreme Court Justice Susan Denham and her brother, Gibney’s barrister Patrick Gageby. And there’s the coded ongoing coverage of the case by the defamation lawsuit-cowed Irish media.

But since Horgan has delivered big-time with Banks and there is more to come, it is not appropriate to dwell on what have become relatively small flaws.

There are complementary Irish broadcast and American journalistic approaches and emphases. Where Is George Gibney? now has justified its own, and has the juice to move forward toward real action holding Gibney and his many institutional enablers accountable.

Irvin writes at Concussion.net.

Previously: Irvin Muchnick on Broadsheet

Getty

Tonight.

American investigative sports journalist irvin Muchnick (top right), on the trail of former Irish Olympic swimming coach and child rapist George Gibney (top left) since 2015, answers your questions (submitted earlier) on the case and and the podcast that has brought world-wide attention to Gibney’s crimes.

Irvin writes at Concussion.net.

Earlier: Irvin Muchnick: Not Making Waves

From top: George Gibney; BBC Sounds/Second Captains podcast ‘Where Is George Gibney?’; Irvin Muchnick

I don’t expect to be named Miss Congeniality for having to break the news to folks in Ireland that the BBC/Second Captains podcast Where Is George Gibney?, despite being hyped to the heavens by the herd of independent minds in the Anglo-Irish media, is pitifully exploitative and faux-earnest, and that its practitioners are callow.

In the just-aired episode about Gibney’s rape of a 17-year-old Irish swimmer, pseudonymously called “Susan,” on a 1991 training trip in Tampa, Florida, producer-narrator Mark Horgan tracks down her sister for the purpose of, among other things, sharing with the audience the indispensable factoids that this sexual assault victim boasted a perfect breaststroke kick and the physical beauty of a model.

Not noted is that the victim herself was interviewed in explicit detail on RTÉ television back in 2006.

Generally, the new podcast seems happy to make fair use of archival audio — but only when the content in question conveniently aligns with the new project’s template of rewriting, and adding slick production values to, what was already reported and re-reported, even in the Irish media. The priority is a patina of freshness and exclusivity.

Meanwhile, Horgan devotes exactly one sentence to recording the rejection of criminal charges against Gibney by Ireland’s director of public prosecutions. The DPP, Horgan glibly avers, “did not have jurisdiction” over Susan’s rape.

Bullshit.

In fact, Susan was one of four former swimmers of Gibney’s Trojans team who lodged abuse allegations against the two-time Irish Olympic coach, prompting a fresh investigation by gardai in Blackrock, County Dublin.

In declining to pursue his extradition, the DPP office decided they were unmoved by the body of new evidence against him. As noted in my  last article, this was in 1996.

And if jurisdiction was the sticking point in justice for Susan, then how, pray tell, does that square with the DPP’s revisiting her case yet again in 2004 (with the same result)?

The sad bottom line of this podcast series has become clearer and clearer:

The Horgan crew appeared to have no desire to use their BBC platform to assist in a global reckoning for the abuses of an Olympic sports system that turns millions of kids in extracurricular activities into vessels of our bread-and-circuses fantasies, while covering up the worst outcomes, many of them heinous.

In the interview of Susan’s sister, she betrays this superficiality. The tragedy of her sibling’s ruined life is, yes of course, that Susan, following multiple suicide attempts, would turn into a mental patient who required institutionalisation. But the other tragedy is the one about how the evil coach dashed a family’s dreams of Olympic glory — Susan’s, directly, and their parents’, vicariously.

Thus does our world devolve into full-tilt jockocracy, a place where the ultimate grievance is the one expressed by the Marlon Brando character in On the Waterfront: “I could have been a contender. I could have been somebody.”

For me, the derivative and thoroughly sophomoric nature of Where Is George Gibney? was evident from the first second of the first episode.

In that moment, Horgan and his cohort set off on a purportedly breathless, carefully engineered stakeout of an old man. Actually, Gibney was long known to be playing out the end of his miserable life in a house on Breakwater Drive in Altamonte Springs, Florida. Whether there is an actual punchline for this extended contrivance remains to be heard.

For the latest episode, Ireland’s answers to the Hardy Boys of children’s mystery books tell podcast listeners that they have changed pursuit cars for their undercover op.

Subscribing to the Michael Moore school of documentary making, Horgan must convey everything through his own eyes. Unfortunately, he lacks Moore’s wit and sense of purpose.

One of my Irish-American readers got it right.

Where Is George Gibney?, this reader wrote me early on, is “like an Australian one, The Teacher’s Pet, which turned a sordid but potentially interesting story into an irritating endurance test. My wife has difficulty listening to any Australian accents as a result.”

Irvin Muchnick writes at Concussion.net

Previously: Gibney Didn’t Vanish

Shallow Hype

Previously: The Chief Justice, Her Brother And How George Gibney Got Away

Meanwhile…

Tonight.

Journalist Irvin Muchnick (above) will Answer A Broadsheet Reader.

Please leave any questions on Gibney, the BBC Sounds/Second Captains podcast or any other matters for Irvin below.

UPDATE: Irvin answers

Previously: Answer A broadsheet Reader on Broadsheet


George Gibney (left); Journalist and author Irvin Muchnik

With a major new BBC/Second Captains podcast series on George Gibney scheduled for release in May, Irvin Muchnik, who has been on the trail of the swimming coach for years, details recent developments in the US and his lengthy struggle getting even Irish media interested in Gibney.

Irvin writes:

Hobbled by George Gibney’s lack of name recognition on this side of the Atlantic, and pusillanimous by nature when it comes to tackling important sexual assault narratives until they are either the flavour of the month or have risen, in the cliché, to the level of “a dead girl or a live boy”, major American outlets have been slow to pick up on the documented reporting so far published only at my modest-circulation platforms.

The current connection to the more general and better-understood federal grand jury investigation of USA Swimming is a hook for which I remain hopeful for major coverage, though I am not unrealistically optimistic.

Definitive action on George Gibney seems to be one of those chicken-and-egg or “Alphonse-and-Gaston” processes, with multiple moving parts.

Will the Irish government ask for Gibney’s extradition before they are certain that the return answer would be ‘yes’?

Will the US government seek to deport Gibney before being issued a formal extradition request?

And perhaps equally important: In the realpolitik always factoring into such matters, will US Department of Justice’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section (MALRS) office ever flip the switch on absent pressure from a more powerful media player than myself?

In 2016, during an early stage of my Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) litigation, I was interviewed for a segment on Fox News called Sports Court. You can view the clip, “Gov’t hiding immigration docs on accused pedophile,” here.

Ironically, the interviewer and producer of Sports Court, Tamara Holder, herself would resign from Fox News late that year as part of a multimillion-dollar settlement of a claim that she was sexually harassed and assaulted by an executive.

Holder thus became part of the real-life narrative of the current movie Bombshell, which is mostly about Megyn Kelly and Gretchen Carlson, two higher-profile ex-Fox News personalities.

Later in 2016, with the help of a friend of mine who was a San Francisco Chronicle columnist, the newspaper’s long-time federal courts reporter, Bob Egelko, was enlisted to write about Judge Breyer’s FOIA ruling.

And that’s it for American media on George Gibney.

Heinous scandals with long tails — whether they’re Jeffrey Epstein or Bill Cosby or Harvey Weinstein or George Gibney — are always festivals of missed opportunities.

In 2014 Chuck Wielgus, the chief executive of USA Swimming, withdrew from his scheduled induction into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in response to a petition campaign by abuse victims who raised the public consciousness of his two-decade role in covering up their cases — and in at least one of them, committing unindicted perjury.

At the time, George Diaz, a columnist for the Orlando Sentinel, bragged to me that his column opining “Why does this man still have a job?” was “one of the five entries that got me a Top 10 acknowledgment by Associated Press Sports Editors as one of the top columnists in the country.”

I found this a strange boast, insofar as (a) on the front end, Diaz had not been responsible for exposing Wielgus’s administration and lies, and (b) on the back end, in any case, Wielgus would remain in his million-dollar-a-year post until he died in 2017. One of the top ten yapping jackals of a fortnight’s media scrum? For sure. Hands down.

But the reason I bring this up is something else: The Orlando Sentinel was George Gibney’s now-home market, and for years I importuned Diaz to jump into the pool on this story, which looked to be right in his wheelhouse. (He did columns mentioning his adoption of a foster child and he advocated for that population.) Yet nothing ever happened.

In November 2014, Diaz told me he had been out sick for three weeks.

In February 2015, Diaz said he was tied up with coverage of the Daytona 500 motor race, but he promised to put Gibney “on the radar screen ASAP”.

In August 2015, Diaz wrote to me, “I have to be honest, I really have been meaning to get to this, but so slammed…”

June 2017: “I will be in touch with editors today. Trust me the issue is not lack of interest…it’s lack of manpower and time…given all the cutbacks that have faced newspapers through the years it’s simply a matter of Last Man (or Woman) standing.”

April 2018: Diaz was downsized out of his column at the Sentinel.

November 2018: The Orlando Sentinel laid off George Diaz.

Then we have the tale of Outside magazine. In early 2018, in the wake of the FOIA settlement with the government and the then-exploding scandal of USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar, I was approached by an old college friend who is the No. 2 editor at Outside.

He suggested that I write the definitive George Gibney feature article for his publication. “Let’s go win a National Magazine Award,” he said. This editor told me he had served as a panelist for the award in the past. Again — the solicitation was from him to me, not the other way around.

Over the course of three months, and with the editor’s guidance, I wrote, then rewrote, then re-rewrote, a story pitch. It was a verbal beatdown of little journalistic acuity. But it did have all trappings of a Hollywood scenarist vying for studio funding.

At long last, my friend the No. 2 editor came back with definitive word from his boss, the No. 1 editor: Outside would be thrilled to have me write a few hundred words about this little brouhaha for the magazine’s website. Then, perhaps, somewhere down the road, a print feature when … when … when …

Saying anything further about all this would be redundant and petulant. The Gibney story is not about me.

Irish media

Irish media counterparts have been a different kettle of fish. They know who George Gibney is, of course, and they episodically obsess over how he was “the one who got away,” while other prominent Irish swimming coaches of his generation went to prison for less (Derry O’Rourke, Ger Doyle), and one for perhaps more (Frank McCann — he murdered his wife and their baby daughter, by burning down their house with them in it, to prevent them from learning that he had raped and impregnated one of his young swimmers).

The Irish media are also hamstrung by the lack of a First Amendment and an accompanying tradition of chilling defamation laws.

And like the public at large, they are often uniquely fatigued and paralysed by the agonizing unspooling of the historical legacies of sexual abuses at many institutions — especially but not only the Catholic Church.

Continue reading

From top: Former Irish swimming coach George Gibney; journalist Irvin Muchnick 

In America, groups of citizens can be brought together to work as grand juries which investigate potential criminal conduct and decide whether criminal charges should be brought.

They make this determination after obtaining and reviewing documents and other evidence, and perhaps hearing sworn testimonies of witnesses.

US journalist Irvin Muchnick reports that a grand jury is currently investigating USA Swimming in New York and, within that, questions are being asked about former Irish swimming coach George Gibney.

Mr Muchnick writes:

“The year began with what my ebook on the hunt for George Gibney called an “educated prediction” that “2019 will be the year of reckoning” for the former Irish Olympic swimming coach.

Gibney remains harboured in my country, the United States, a quarter of a century after he skated prosecution on 27 counts of child sexual abuse thanks to a controversial technical ruling by the Irish Supreme Court, and more than 20 years after the Irish government’s Murphy Inquiry “vindicated” his accusers.

In a legal Catch-22 laid bare by a federal judge’s 2016 ruling in my favor in a Freedom of Information Act case for Gibney’s American immigration records, his 2010 citizenship application got rejected.

(The applicant was probably making a panicked effort to shut down, once and for all, efforts to extradite and try him for his crimes, including one committed on US soil in 1991.)

At the same time, however, the government decided that Gibney was “not removable,” and his permanent resident alien status was kept intact. The reason given was that he has not been convicted of a crime.

Well, 2019 is drawing to a close and Gibney is still here. But my holiday message to Irish friends is that something important still seems to be happening with him, and soon.

Last week one of my sources, who is close to a secret grand jury investigation in New York whose non-Gibney aspects have been voluminously reported by the Wall Street Journal and other major newspapers, told me that additional persons recently testified to the grand jury regarding Gibney.

This is where I need to explain, yet again, what is and is not driving the US investigation of Gibney.

Not appearing to drive the investigation is any particular moral imperative to bring to justice a person I call the most notorious at-large sex criminal in the history of global sport.

What is happening, rather, is what I call the “chum in the water” model for getting Gibney. This lacks some of the focus and clarity desired by advocates for Gibney’s likely scores of victims.

But the good news is that it could bring about the same desired and long-overdue outcome.

The main task of the grand jury is handing down indictments for sexual abuse cover-ups at USA Swimming – and perhaps more important, insurance fraud, some of it involving the organisation’s now-defunct reinsurance subsidiary, the Barbados-based “United States Sports Insurance Company.”

For, you see, money dictates the priorities of the legal system, along with just about everything else.

The backdrop is the embarrassment of the federal authorities two years ago, when they were exposed as having been asleep at the switch in the scandals surrounding Larry Nassar, the pervert doctor of USA Gymnastics.

The current grand jury now is probing parallel cover-ups at USA Swimming, the grist of which has long been in the pipeline of multiple Federal Bureau of Investigation field offices.

Simultaneous with this is a development spurred by various news headlines and this #MeToo moment: 15 of the 50 individual states have relaxed statute of limitations standards.

Associated Press reporting found that, for the Catholic Church, resulting new litigation “could surpass anything the nation’s clergy sexual abuse crisis has seen before, with potentially more than 5,000 new cases and payouts topping $4 billion.”

Gibney is one of several real and live offshoots of the grand jury investigation of swimming.

As I reported in July with the publication of an updated edition of my Gibney ebook, these investigators are not examining just the ambiguities in his old immigration paperwork.

They are looking at his work as chair of a children’s medical mission in Peru in the late 1990’s, sponsored by a Catholic parish in Colorado — the first of several states of his US odyssey.

I have further reported that the church mission may be connected to the expansion into the US of a right-wing Peruvian sect called Sodalitium Christianae Vitae (“Fellowship of Christian Life”). The Sodalitium’s founder, Luis Fernando Figari, lives in seclusion in Rome, and today is disavowed by the group, following the separate publications of its own independent investigation and of a book by two Peruvian journalists, which document horrifying allegations of widespread sexual abuse and kidnapping.

Last month the US attorney in New York, Geoffrey Berman, who is directing the grand jury, declined to comment on my reporting – first to an Irish media outlet and then to me.

But note that Berman didn’t deny the accuracy of my reporting, either.

My own query to the US attorney had included the name of the co-coordinator of that office’s work on human trafficking, who is said to be spearheading the Gibney aspect of the grand jury probe.

At this point, unfortunately, only the Off the Ball podcast and the Irish Sun have chosen to ramp up my newest Gibney findings.

The Irish Times and the Times of London, which seem most interested in recycling their greatest hits of two decades ago, have not.

But just because many major news media, in America as well as in Ireland, are too cautious to risk reinforcing the reporting of a lone freelance journalist does not invalidate its truthfulness and thoroughness.

So to those who remain hopeful, I say: Hang in there. And Happy Holidays.”

Previously: The Chief Justice, Her Brother And How George Gibney Got Away

Unreasonable Delay

Irvin Muchnick on Broadsheet

Former Irish swimming coach George Gibney; journalist Irvin Muchnick 

In July.

American sportswriter and journalist Irvin Muchnick gave an interview to Seán O’Rourke on RTÉ Radio One, following the publication of the second eBook edition of his book about former Irish swimming coach George Gibney.

Gibney was charged with 27 counts of indecency against young swimmers and of carnal knowledge of girls under the age of 15 in Ireland in April, 1993.

However, he moved to the United States in 1995, the year after an unusual and controversial decision by the Supreme Court led to the quashing of these charges.

He was also 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.

During his radio interview, Mr Muchnick told Mr O’Rourke that there were federal investigations of racketeering and insurance fraud involving USA Swimming taking place.

Asked how such investigations may “turn up the heat” on Gibney, Mr Muchnick said:

“I know that there are federal agents who are involved in these swimming investigations who are taking a specific look at George Gibney right now.”

Further to this…

Last week.

Journalist Rebecca Davis-O’Brien, in The Wall Street Journal, reported:

“Federal prosecutors in New York are investigating USA Swimming, including allegations that the organization stifled athlete sexual-abuse claims, concealed its assets and improperly reaped hundreds of thousands of dollars in rebates from its in-house insurance company, people familiar with the matter said.

“Over the past year, a federal grand jury in Manhattan has heard evidence in the investigation, which is being led by the Manhattan US Attorney’s office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.”

It followed an article last month concerning the same investigation by Scott Reid in the Orange County Register.

Federal grand juries are used in some US states to decide whether probable cause exists to support criminal charges against a suspect.

Grand jury deliberations are carried out in secret.

USA Swimming Faces Probe Into Sex-Abuse Claims, Business Practices (The Wall Street Journal, October 2, 2019)

Related: Gymnastics Federation’s Payments to a Linked Foundation Is Under Scrutiny (The Wall Street Journal, October 7, 2019) 

Wall Street Journal Bombshell: Federal Grand Jury and FBI Are Investigating USA Swimming Sexual Abuse — Including Concealed Assets and Irregularities With In-House Insurance Company (Irvin Muchnick, Concussion.net)

Previously: On Gibney’s Trail

From top: Irvin Muchnik with Independent TD Maureen O’uullivan; Croke Park; Spice Bag. All pics: Irvin Muchnick

On the trail of George Gibney, American sportswriter and investigative journalist Irvin Muchnick visited Dublin recently.

Irvin writes:

The ostensible purpose of my visit to Dublin was promotion of the second edition of my ebook The George Gibney Chronicles: What the Hunt For the Most Notorious At-Large Sex Criminal in the History of Global Sports Has Told Us About the Sports Establishments and Governments on Two Continents.

Two Broadsheet worthies share my belief that this is a story worth continuing to tell, more and better: Olga Cronin (who has been vetting new Gibney factoids for a number of years) and John Ryan (this quirky website’s somewhat Oz-like majordomo but in a good way!).

This is an account of how things turned out for me in Ireland on the extradition campaign front — and several others. Obviously, I didn’t accomplish the immediate transport of Gibney in handcuffs.

But I was able to experience one of the world’s great cities and meet the coolest people.

For those of you just tuning in, Gibney is merely the former two-time Irish Olympic swimming head coach who fled here in the mid-1990s after a dodgy technical Supreme Court decision quashed what were then the 27 most rigorous charges assembled against him, out of a body of more instances of child molestation and rape than we’ll ever know.

Agreeing in 2016, in my Freedom of Information Act case against the Department of Homeland Security, to open up at least some of the Gibney immigration files I was seeking to daylight, a distinguished senior federal judge, Charles R. Breyer, reviewed the dual paradoxical upshot of Gibney’s 2010 application for naturalized citizenship.

Number one, that application failed because he lied on it in response to the material question of whether he had ever been criminally indicted in his native country.

Number two, the federal immigration bureaucracy decided, nonetheless, that he was not a candidate for removal from the country.

In his published opinion, which remains in the law books in the wake of my 2017 settlement at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Breyer asked why? “We’re not a haven for pedophiles,” he observed.

Maureen O’Sullivan, the Dublin Central district’s independent representative in the Dáil, promptly pressed Simon Coveney, tánaiste and foreign minister.

The government “will act” on the new Gibney information “if we can,” Coveney said on the floor of the Dáil.

More than a year and a half later, these Socratic maieutics remain aspirational during the pendency of what I am reliably told is yet another run at examining Gibney’s p’s and q’s — an exercise that also resumes the on-again, off-again exploration of whether Ireland’s director of public prosecutions has any game left.

Some of us insist that where there’s a way, there should be a will. The scholarship of the 1994 Irish Supreme Court statute of limitations ruling in the Gibney matter — partially determined, with classic cronyism, by a justice whose brother argued the case before the judicial panel — has frayed.

And new information has emerged on the old cases. And new cases have emerged.

And lest we forget, one of the most heinous allegations against Gibney, his rape and impregnation of one of his teen swimmers, occurred in 1991 in Tampa, pointing to the direct jurisdictional interest of not only the U.S. Department of Justice, but the state attorney of Hillsborough County, Florida, as well.

(Citing the Irish government’s too-little-too-late 1998 Murphy Commission report, which passively voiced the finding that Gibney’s accusers “were vindicated” by the evidence accumulated against Gibney by An Garda Síochána, the national police, I decline the conventional and cant adverb “allegedly.”)

Continue reading


From top: a certificate of character signed by An Garda Síochána for George Gibney’s US visa application in 1992; former Irish swimming coach George Gibney; journalist Irvin Muchnick (right)

This morning.

American sportswriter and journalist Irvin Muchnick spoke to Seán O’Rourke on RTÉ Radio One about former Irish swimming coach George Gibney.

Mr Muchnik is visiting Ireland this week as he launches the second eBook edition of his book about Gibney.

Gibney was charged with 27 counts of indecency against young swimmers and of carnal knowledge of girls under the age of 15 in Ireland in April, 1993.

However, he moved to the United States in 1995, the year after an unusual and controversial decision by the Supreme Court led to the quashing of these charges.

He was also 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.

Justice Roderick Murphy’s later Government-commissioned report into sex abuse and Irish swimming in 1998 concluded that Gibney’s accusers “were vindicated” by the accumulation of Garda evidence.

These accusers included a woman who alleged she was indecently assaulted by Gibney on a swimming trip to Holland in 1990 and, the following year, raped by him in Florida in June 1991.

From this morning’s interview…

Sean O’Rourke: “I gather that you believe that this year, 2019, might signal some changes in this case. Tell me why.”

Irvin Muchnick: “Well, the reason is that widespread scandals in the Olympic sport programmes in the United States have come to light through the USA Gymnastics scandal and there are federal investigations of racketeering and insurance fraud involving USA Swimming , USA Taekwando and other groups and those are the real reasons why 2019 I think is going to be the year of reckoning for George Gibney.”

“We’ve learned from a Freedom of Information Act case that Gibney unsuccessfully applied for American citizenship in 2010, I believe, hoping to inoculate himself from these ongoing serial efforts to get him extradited and brought back for justice in Ireland.

“And in a quirk, he was denied citizenship because he lied on his application about his Irish past but, strangely, nothing happened in terms of his Green Card and his permanent resident/alien status in the United States.

“So, what my new reporting has uncovered is that there’s not just paperwork issues with George Gibney but perhaps other acts he committed while he was in America.

“He was the leader of a church group, medical mission, to Peru that involved a strange Catholic sect called the Sodalitium Christianae Vitae and those are some of the things that are coming to the fore for federal investigators right now.”

O’Rourke: “Coming back, you say he tried in 2010 to get American citizenship but he was declined it or denied it on the basis that he had filed false information?”

Muchnick: “Right. What the Freedom of Information case documents revealed is that US Citizenship and Immigration Services kicked his application back to him and said ‘you want to give this another go?’ because you have to disclose not just whether you have ever been convicted of a crime but whether you’ve ever been arrested, charged, indicted.

“And evidently he didn’t comply because his citizenship application was denied.

“But the weird Catch-22 is that, at the same time, another federal agency in the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement put out a letter that said he could not be removed from the country because he had never been convicted.

“So this is the conundrum that we face this year.”

O’Rourke: “And how is he getting on, living in the United States? I mean you and other people have shone a lot of light on his background here in Ireland and on the questions that have been asked. So how has he been doing? He’s there now over quarter of a century?”

Muchnick: “Right it’s a front-page story in Ireland, it’s kind of crickets in major media. I have a small outlet trying to shine light on this and he’s basically hiding in plain sight. He coached briefly, we think, because of a recommendation from the American Swimming Coaches Association – which should be accountable, as should be USA Swimming.

“But after his Irish past was exposed locally, in Colorado, in 1995, he backed away from his swimming career but he’s had various jobs. He’s now living in Altamonte Springs, Florida, we believe, just north of Orlando.

“And I call it hiding in plain sight.”

O’Rourke: “But is there any reason to believe, I mean, you say, you talk about this background of scandals in gymnastics and taekwondo and US Olympic circles, but why should that, or how might that be brought to bear and turn up the heat on George Gibney?”

Muchnick: “Well the reason is that there are federal investigations looking into all these things. I think the FBI and other federal agencies are a little bit embarrassed that they were asleep at the switch on the gymnastics scandal. So they’re looking to, to make good on that, and clean up the Olympic programmes in some way.

“So I think, paradoxically, by not having this intense focus just on Gibney, he’s marginally out there and I do know that investigators have been reading my reporting and have determined to act on it.”

O’Rourke: “And is there a sense that what he might face would be deportation or would it be extradition?”

Muchnick: “Well it would be extradition. It’s kind of thing where the Americans are saying ‘after you, first’. And the Irish are saying ‘we want you to do something’. The Garda and American law enforcement have to start talking to each other under EU protocols and share information.

“We know that Gibney had one known crime on American soil in 1991 in Tampa, Florida, and so that could be a basis for…”

O’Rourke: “Is that a conviction now?”

Muchnick: “No, it’s not.”

O’Rourke: “Strictly speaking, you cannot say someone has a known crime unless they’re convicted of it.”

Muchnick: “That’s correct and that’s always been the difficulty at getting at this. But my understanding is that in Ireland there’s been a revisiting of that controversial 1994 Supreme Court ruling that effectively quashed his indictment and that could be looked at again. There could be new victims…”

O’Rourke: “There could be new victims coming forward or new claims that will have to be investigated.

“Do you know, as of now, whether there is a request for George Gibney, submitted to the US authorities by the gardai here or by the Director of Public Prosecutions, for his extradition to this country?”

Muchnick: “I think we know pretty clearly there is not one as yet. However, in 2015, TD Maureen O’Sullivan did ask the Director of Public Prosecutions to look at this again. And I understand that that matter is ongoing.”

O’Rourke: “I know that every time this case is discussed, it causes distress to the victims. They must feel disheartened that it drags on. I think some of them have found a way of just putting it behind them in so far as is possible. And accepting that they’re not going to see justice. But, you know, with no apparent resolution, I’m wondering why you continue to pursue it, Irv. Do you actually think you’re getting somewhere?”

Muchnick: “I do and I’ll tell you why in a moment. But I am looking forward to meeting a victim while I’m on my Dublin visit tomorrow. I do understand the pain that they’ve endured for many years and I do understand that many of them are ambivalent at this point, having had their hopes dashed so many times in the past, as to whether this is even good for them to do this.

“But my message to the Irish is that this is not just about the victims, this is about a system of institutions in global sport that enable bad actors, like George Gibney, to do what they do. And so it’s so important to hold accountable Swim Ireland, USA Swimming, most especially the American Swimming Coaches Association and so I hope that we can work together on that, moving forward to clean up sports.”

O’Rourke: “And what about the current climate in which, for instance, you have President Trump speaking out strongly against, I suppose what he would describe, generally, as undesirables. I mean might that somehow contribute to increasing the pressure on George Gibney?”

Muchnick: “That’s a great point and a great question and I think that it’s the real reason there’s hope right now. That even though Donald Trump has weaponised the immigration question and he’s demonised Central Americans and Muslims, not so much white Europeans, there’s still a movement there is some indication that bad guys from Ireland have been sent back, other than George Gibney.”

O’Rourke: “But do you know, or do you know of particular individuals in the United States’ system of immigration and law enforcement, whatever you want to call it, who are on this case?”

Muchnick: “Yes. I know that there are federal agents who are involved in these swimming investigations who are taking a specific look at George Gibney right now.”

O’Rourke: “OK, well no doubt you and we will continue to keep an eye on this situation and bring any developments to our audience. Journalist, investigative journalist, Irvin Muchnick, thank you very much for coming in.”

Muchnick: “Thank you for having me.”

Listen back in full here.

Previously: ‘There Is No Excuse’

Unreasonable Delay

Second edition of US journalist Irvin Muchnick’s book about George Gibney; Mr Muchnick

American sportswriter and investigative journalist Irvin Muchnik is visiting Ireland this week to launch the second eBook edition of his book about Ireland’s former Olympic swimming coach George Gibney

The book is available here while a print-on-demand paperback edition is also planned.

Gibney was charged with 27 counts of indecency against young swimmers and of carnal knowledge of girls under the age of 15 in Ireland in April, 1993.

However, he moved to the United States in 1995, the year after an unusual and controversial decision by the Supreme Court led to the quashing of these charges.

He was also 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.

Justice Roderick Murphy’s later Government-commissioned report into sex abuse and Irish swimming in 1998 concluded that Gibney’s accusers “were vindicated” by the accumulation of Garda evidence.

Mr Muchnick’supdated book includes a chapter on Gibney’s role as chairman of the Catholic church   mission called the International Peru Eye Clinic Foundation while he was living in Colorado in the late 1990s.

Mr Muchnick writes:

“The ebook explains how this project coincided with the establishment of a new presence in the United States, starting in Colorado, of a Catholic sect based in Peru, Sodalitium Christianae Vitae.

In recent years this group has been exposed for rampant violence and sexual abuse under its Peruvian founder, Luis Fernando Figari, who today lives in seclusion in Rome.”

Ahead of his visit, Mr Muchnick adds:

My message to Irish friends and American friends alike is: If the goal is to nail George Gibney at last and put an end to his lucky three-decade run of evading justice, then all the tools are now out there.

Previously we’ve noted that politicians on both sides of the Atlantic must push for direct and formal information-sharing between the Garda and US law enforcement — both the federal Justice Department and the office of the state attorney of Hillsborough County, Florida.

(Tampa, Florida, is where Gibney’s known sex crime on American soil occurred, during an Irish swim team training trip in 1991.)

TD Maureen O’Sullivan has already met with Congresswoman Jackie Speier to discuss this. In these evidently culminating circumstances of a wider investigation of abuses throughout Olympic sports programmes, there needs to be a renewed push, and Speier and other sympathetic legislators need to hear it and act on it.

Though not directly related, some wind behind the sails of the Gibney extradition campaign has emerged in the form of breaking news of the arrest of another accused serial sex abuser, Jeffrey Epstein.

The fresh reporting in my new edition of the George Gibney Chronicles ebook adds a road map for federal investigators of the last furlong of the marathon that is the Gibney hunt: important questions surrounding his role in a Colorado church group’s children’s eye clinic mission in Peru around 20 years ago.

The timeline, the participants, and the nature of these activities stand a good chance of getting pinned down via (a) Gibney’s movements as revealed by his Irish passport; (b) rosters of volunteers and other archival material likely in the hands of hitherto withholding local and regional Catholic Church officials; and (c) reaching out to Peru’s Ministry of Women and Vulnerable Populations.

The last chapter of the George Gibney story is at hand; it is not too late to summon the persistence and will to make it happen.

Meanwhile…

Mr Muchnick spoke to Danny Murray and Graham Merrigan of the podcast What’s The Story? this week about why he believes this year might be the year of reckoning for Gibney.

Concussion.Inc

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?

“What happened?”

Former Colorado Cop Who Investigated George Gibney in 2000 Surfaces … Promises Interview … Ducks Out. Why Was Nothing Done About Gibney’s Green Card? (Irvin Muchnick, Concussion.Inc)

Wheat Ridge (Colorado) Police Refuse to Say If They Did Anything With the Information They Got in 2000 on George Gibney (Irvin Muchnick, Concussion.Inc)

Previously: George Gibney on Broadsheet