An US journalist is questioning the decision made by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services to award a notorious Irish former Olympic swimming coach, charged with multiple counts of sexual assault, with a US visa, and subsequently, a green card.
George Gibney, who is now believed to be living in Florida, was charged on 27 counts of indecent assault and unlawful carnal knowledge of young swimmers in Ireland in 1993.
A judicial review following the charges, however, called a stop to the case due to the amount of time that had passed since the alleged assaults took place. The assaults are believed to go back as far as the 1960s.
Irvin Muchnick, a widely published US sports journalist and author, is now trying to uncover the reason why Gibney was first awarded a visa and then permanent residency in the US when the authorities were aware of the charges against his name.
Complete links to our coverage of rapist former Irish national swim team coach George Gibney in America: http://t.co/QjVdC0kzHI— Irvin Muchnick (@irvmuch) July 28, 2015
BREAKING: Irish "appeal for transparency" on sponsorship of rapist swim coach George Gibney's American green card ... http://t.co/5YBdCxH2ke— Irvin Muchnick (@irvmuch) July 28, 2015
US Citizenship and Immigration Services is currently refusing to release the 102-page file containing Gibney's visa application and green-card files to Muchnick, despite the journalist issuing a Freedom of Information (FOI) request.
Just four pages were released to Muchnick following his request, with the remaining 98 pages left blank but for a FOI Act exemption notice. The pages released to the journalist, however, reveal a public alert on the website AbuseWatch.net which detailed journalistic inquiries into the allegations of sexual assault and Gibney’s “long-standing pattern” of abuse.
The decision not to publicly release Gibney’s files was appealed by Muchnick but his appeal was also rejected.
Muchnick now plans to sue the Department of Homeland Security in federal court so as to discover the reasons why the USCIS allowed Gibney to not only travel to the US on a working visa but to gain permanent residency here. In the lawsuit, Muchnick describes Gibney as an Irish national "who reportedly sexually abused numerous young aquatic athletes in Ireland and other countries but who was granted permission to enter and reside in the United States."
In Ireland, questions have recently been asked about the standard of inquiry throughout the initial handling of the case with Independent TD Maureen O’Sullivan raising the issue in the Dáil (Irish parliament) last March.
Although O’Sullivan did not specifically name Gibney, she spoke in parliament of a"notorious swimming coach accused of multiple cases of sex abuse who was granted a visa to live in the United States".
The Independent TD requested that the case be reviewed as she believed that a “litany of mistakes” had been made.
TD seeks help in finding out how George Gibney got a green card http://t.co/0CXHThEE9P pic.twitter.com/E7mOgDewu8— The Irish Times (@IrishTimes) July 28, 2015
A senior Garda (police officer) has since been appointed to review the case. During the initial prosecution, Gibney claimed that he could not remember details of any of the incidents, but the detective superintendent hopes to speak to those involved. He also hopes to potentially speak to new complainants, although some have become disillusioned with the manner in which the case has been handled.
“I am pleased with the way the Garda have responded,” O’Sullivan said. “The assistant commissioner came to me very quickly and has now asked a superintendent to look into the facts that I brought to the Dáil in Question Time.
“There are still questions surrounding how things were handled in the past. It would be extremely valuable for this fact-finding mission if victims could come forward.”
Should Gibney have been allowed the right to live in the US? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
H/T: Irish Independent.