Up to 18 new alleged victims of George Gibney come forward
Podcast to air new historic child abuse allegations against former swimming coach
Former Irish swimming coach George Gibney. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho
As many as 18 alleged victims coached by the disgraced former swimming coach and child abuser George Gibney have contacted the BBC Sounds and Second Captains podcast documentary Where Is George Gibney?, which aired over the summer and autumn and is about to broadcast the first of its final two episodes on Thursday.
Gibney was a celebrity Irish coach in swimming in Ireland during the 1980s and 1990s before a slew of allegations against him from former male and female swimmers forced him out of the sport in Ireland.
Gibney was the “learn-to-swim coach” for the stars and also the man at the cutting edge of Olympic sport in Ireland and coach to Gary O’Toole, his star European Championship silver medallist at the 1989 long course swimming championships in Bonn.
It was O’Toole who initially blew the whistle on Gibney following conversations with victims, which led to a failed prosecution that then allowed the disgraced coach to move out of the country.
The series, made by host Mark Horgan and producer Ciaran Cassidy, will, in episode nine, outline detailed claims from 18 new complainants who alleged that Gibney had sexually assaulted them as children over a period of time.
It was reported at the weekend that two victims have already made statements to the Garda regarding the alleged assaults, a critical issue as the previous complaints rejected by the Supreme Court are no longer applicable in any legal action.
The Irish Times has learned that before those two new complainants came forward, gardaí were already investigating Gibney again over separate allegations dating back decades. Gibney (73) currently lives in Orlando, Florida.
Garda sources said the new complainants’ allegations had been added to the investigation that was already under way.
In Thursday’s episode of the Where Is George Gibney? podcast, listeners will learn that since the launch of the podcast, those 18 victims have come forward with their accounts of being sexually assaulted by Gibney when they were children, including two women from the same era who contacted Horgan from different sides of the globe.
The women contacted the makers of the podcast following the re-emergence of the details of Gibney’s story, which so far has been downloaded more than one million times.
The podcast’s opening episode was aired in August and told the story of Gibney, who did not stand trial in Ireland and fled to Scotland and then the USA following a Supreme Court judgment in his favour.
He first moved to Colorado, where he worked in a swimming club with children, and moved around the USA before settling into a Florida hospice and sharing a house with a senior member of a lay Catholic men-only organisation.
Gibney, who was the coach of the Trojan Swimming Club in Dublin, 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 Scotland and then the US in 1995, a year after an unusual and controversial decision by the Supreme Court led to the charges being quashed.