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BBC sounds, music, radio, podcasts, this podcast refers to child sexual abuse and contains interviews that some listeners may find upsetting, as well as some occasional strong language. Episode 10 C Swimming.
This is the main section of the Sunday Times. And it's Justin McCarthy on the front page. You gave me abuse investigation. Justin McCarthy, hair raising. The Guard are investigating new complaints of child sexual abuse against George gave me after being contacted by victims who listen to a podcast series about the former Olympic swimming coach. This is the Where is George? Give me a podcast series.
Ghadeer investigating a number of new complaints of child sexual abuse against George Gibney after being contacted by victims who listen to the Whereis George Gibney podcast to female abuse survivors have contacted security about George.
Give me the two women that live in the different countries and the guards are investigating their complaints. This development is so significant to this case, that investigation is something to work on.
OK, but the interesting point is, as you say, that it was dormant for some time and now it is. It would seem active again.
Absolutely. Has the makes any sort a good plan to go to the first thing we recorded for this series, literally the first time we press record was this moment in Florida.
This is our first recording on the road. It was six a.m. and we were sat outside what we believed was George given his house.
You think there's any indicators that he could know that we're outside? I don't think so either. We'd only been recording for a few minutes was the very, very start of everything. There's there's a light on the school there now. Straight away, they No. A light suddenly appeared outside a nearby house, then a man with a torch appeared shining it in our direction.
It was really strange, like those parked outside someone's house. Should we go and have a look around the far side there? Do you think they saw you or do you think do you think she was unsettled?
We moved the car around the corner and we waited there for George Keaveney. It's just a bit of a coincidence if it's just by accident, you know? A couple of days later, the neighbor of George give me the man in his bare feet, followed us around Orlando back to her apartment and confronted us.
You know, my concern my concern is my family. Yeah, that's all I care about, OK? That's why I'm here. How did you guys down? Day. I worry about my wife and my daughter and my family, right? Yes, that's what I care about.
He said there was a neighborhood WhatsApp group that explained the like going on and the man with the torch. We didn't know it at the time, but they'd watched us. Parko by the neighbors, were all messaging each other. We were being watched all along.
You were saying they were speaking to or other people in your community, neighbors, all of them. Yeah, yeah. You guys driving very slowly down the street. Yeah. You scared my wife the other day because you were out front of the house. So I am watching out for you. Ever since then, that moment outside of this house was nearly the first minute of our first recording. And since then, a lot has happened a lot. A couple of years have passed and we've met many people along the way.
You not you recognize this guy? No, no, George, give me George. Give me walking over to another side of the building. They look like they're working here. They have some notes in their hand. But I never really knew the people who live in that corner. How you talk about the Grey House on the. Yeah, that's the one. The very thing. No, no.
OK, all right. So bad guy.
You're looking for that first day. We had no idea what was going to happen with this series where the story would go. We didn't realize we were being watched and we didn't realize we were being listened to. I was I thought it was brilliant, though.
I couldn't believe you guys were in Florida and that you were actually outside his house. When I first heard the podcast, I literally stayed in my car in the driveway crying for hours. I think it was actually my sister. So fact that the podcast was going to go ahead. So we independently listened to it and nothing, absolutely nothing surprised us.
People were paying close attention to what we were doing, listening people like Fionna, people like Mary and people like Caroline. I'm not able to listen to this podcast about George. I'm afraid to I don't want to remember what happened that day. It horrifies me.
However, I found the courage to listen to a bit of Episode six about the Sunshine State and Susan. But on one particular day, Gibney took Susan and one other young female swimmer for breakfast away from their other teammates, he then drove the girls to a separate hotel to discuss their swimming. He then brought Susan to a hotel room on her own and told her to wait inside as he went off with the other girl. I was sitting in my car thinking I am the other girl in the other hotel room.
Hello. Hello there. There we go, we're on my phone now or sounding good. People who are listening, people like Judy, who's talking to me from the other side of the world. Judy emailed me after episode three of the podcast. The following week, we spoke on the phone for the first time, Judy was deeply upset. She told me her story, but wanted it kept between us. How are you fixed? Are you whereabouts are you going to sit today?
I'm in my computer room.
OK, go along. So the cat, well, not locked, but closed.
So the cat's cat is in over the next three months we chatted regularly, sometimes for hours. We had a regular time, 10:00 pm on two p.m. Her is usually on a Monday or Tuesday. Just give me one second to to mess around here a little bit and get the levels of slightly.
I'd be sitting in my spare bedroom while she sat on her porch talking about Ireland, about Gibney and the other survivors smoking the odd cigarette. Right. You can hear. Can you hear me OK again? I can hear you perfectly. Oh yeah. I can hear you perfectly. Now you're coming in loud and clear. OK. Are you ready to go now? Yeah, after episode eight was broadcast, Judy decided she was ready to tell her story publicly.
We made the arrangements to sit down at the usual hour on different sides of the Atlantic. But this time I'd be recording.
You know, some people may wonder, why is she speaking now and why did she earlier? Well, I tried to and wasn't hurt. And for me, it is very simple. It is to expose what they did and the depths of his depravity. And for me personally is to give a voice to that inner child, that nine year old who was an art. I took up swimming, I was at an album, that's when I first came into contact with George.
Gibney. He saw weaknesses in people and families and he exposed this and he picked his victims very carefully. I was nine years of age, just turned nine and started acting out and then some time after this. I don't remember exactly when, but he moved to a new park. We followed.
And his abuse continued a new park.
Yes, couple of times a month. More at some times, but it went on for years. And it wasn't an everyday thing, you know, it was.
There were times that it was weakly. Basically about three years. When you're either not believed or not heard, then then you you end up you end up in a situation, you get to the stage that you believe this is supposed to happen. Yeah, this is normal. This is. This is the way it's supposed to be and. That's why it went on for so long. He got to a place where you felt that this was OK and it wasn't until later I got more and more fearful and.
I was older, bigger, I was beginning to understand how bad this situation was, and I just snapped. Judy would break away from George Keaveney from swimming and from Ireland, she'd emigrate to the United States, start a new life, a new career and family where I was in the in the 90s, in the late 90s, there were no Irish papers.
You know, there was no Tribune. There was no Internet that I could go on and read about what was happening back home, you know. When I found out about the court case, when I found out, you know, that there were other people who had suffered.
You know, because of what he had done, it was an eye opener. I mean, it was a confluence of events. My daughter turned the same age that I was, I found out about, you know, what the victims. So you find out, you know, after 30 years almost that that you weren't the only one. It was shocking. And then to see the response from the Irish judicial system, it just it just reinforced for me that that justice and recognition of what he did was not going to be forthcoming.
It was both eye opening and a slap in the face. It was like you had all these brave people who had stood up and filed affidavits and sat down with guards and and he walked off scot free. And that was so demoralised. I need to stop here. I need a cigarette. I'm sorry. That's OK. Take your time and have a cigarette. OK. Yeah, I just.
Has the word I'd be looking for. All right, you're going to get some beans now because I'm walking out to my good.
Oh, yes. Excuse me, sweetie.
The cats are very in tune as to where I am.
I'm the only person in the house.
So they're respecting the fact that you want your distance or that they know not to come into the computer room because I can't access your flying around because what was the word you said you were looking for there?
Demoralisation. That's what I think you want. I know George, number one.
So almost every day someone new makes a different perspective of what happened this time, an ex coach with Gibney from the 70s, who has some old heart, but that's the one you lead in 2008, was a just stupid infielder to fuckin take.
They played it nice.
But this all. Let's be this. Yeah, this is such a short time.
I watched the grainy Super eight footage haunting Lorraine's words are in my head, the tight beard, those George Keaveney glasses like to had to be held just a little bit higher and keep the extended arm extended as long as you possibly can to the back and finish the stroke right up your leg. Then when that's finished right here, then start holding off on the alternate stroke.
More people continue to contact me. More stories of George Give Me and George was by the pool side by with a swimmer in the water, a female swimmer in the water. Young young girl. He said something to her. Then he looked down and she came up out of the water and he kissed her full on the mouth, but that has stuck in my mind for a very, very long time. I mean, anybody who got into that car was in danger.
Anybody who got into that car was in danger, like he he he was brazen enough to to to try and assault me twice in front with four others sitting two, three feet in the back or four, and gave me so much coveted that everybody was after the closure.
Well, put your name on. Believe it or not, I'm the one who gave it to me. He kind of said, you know, basically how you feel that you just plain did exactly what I would have considered a long, lingering case, which I would not have experienced before in my life. Teres. But you have to understand that in the camera or in a swimming pool, but I remember her swimming in tears.
They were rooming together, and as soon as they got to their room, they moved a chest of drawers in front of the door to stop them from coming in. And they sat up all night. One of them with the back to the furniture and the other one looking out the window to make sure he wouldn't try and come in a window or whatever. And she gave up swimming.
And a lot of people contacted us about the episode with Susan and that trip to Florida.
We were in the wave pool and George was in the wave coitus, but he was on one of those kind of rubber kind of inflatable dinghy, things like a doughnut or something. And and he was very directly trying to grope to the point where the St George student ask me what happened. I actually upturned this little thing eating on him, and then I realized the guy could hardly swim.
The Florida episode seemed to affect the listeners more than any other story in the series. People wanted to talk about Susan. I remember Susan on a fence, sitting on a bench in the shade and you could see their body language. There were tears and she was emotionally upset and she was crying and being consoled by our friend and. Episode six, Sunshine State, Susan's story, I can't really I I remember going into the hospital and I remembered her room.
There were no blinds in the room and there were no curtains and there was no sheets. There were no sheets on the bed. And she had no there was nothing that you could use to to like trying to commit suicide. It was when I got the call to go in and see her and she told me about it. Then Susan told Carl what happened to her on that training trip to Tampa, Florida, in 1991.
The team of young swimmers all stayed with host families for the duration of the trip, and they returned to these families each morning after training. But on one particular day, Keaveney took Susan and one other young female swimmer for breakfast away from their other teammates. Give me then drove the girls to a separate hotel to discuss their swimming. He then brought Susan to a hotel room on her own and told her to wait inside as he went off with the other girl.
He later returned, castigated Susan about her swimming before raping her in the hotel bed. She was 17. A second swimmer who went to the hotel had been mentioned in some accounts, a throwaway comment here or there. The other girl that was there that day early on in the series, we asked the Trojan assistant coach, John Wolens, about it. He was in Florida in 1991.
Afterwards, he was accused of raping one of the swimmers. You know, that has been brought up since I mean, he was brought up at the time. But later that day, the actual rape, this girl actually on that trip and I do remember that girl, you know, that, you know, from the point of view of a coach, I remember swimming comfortably and enjoy, you know, enjoying the new environment, swim well. And then another day, she was so bloody miserable.
You know, I thought just one of those female thing, you know, that, you know. But I do remember a change in her demeanor one day to the next. I mean, I remember it didn't strike me, as you know, one day to the next, she was kind of a different person. At that point, I think as an assistant coach would ever have come into your head, I should approach this girl and see what's wrong with her, not really know it was it was it tough club?
You know, you didn't really mollycoddle him. You know, there were there were tougher.
You know, there were the the ethos was, you know, if you can't take it, you know, get out of the kitchen. That kind of it was very committed, serious kind of. I try and clarify some of the details. And I asked, does he remember a second girl? All I remember is we had some sort of mini coach, I think, arriving at the hotel where Gibney And obviously those two from whoever they were.
I remember we that day we arrived at the hotel and and I don't remember any register, roll call or even thinking, well, where's she going to wait?
And she I don't remember any discussion about one or two people not coming with us at the time at all.
Then the other girl in the other hotel room of Florida contacted us. She's called Caroline, but that's not her real name. We email each other over a couple of weeks. She couldn't do an interview. She's not in a position to, but she did want to contribute. I asked if she'd like to write down her account, what she remembers, of Florida and tell her story. This isn't her voice for the role, her words. My name is Caroline and I'm a survivor of George gameness, abuse.
I began swimming and the top team approach New Park when I was 11 in 1989. George Clooney was my main coach. Every morning, my alarm went off for or five a.m. tauxe on school uniform on and the training session started at five, fifteen a.m.. Recession ended at seven, 15 ish, just enough time to get home, eat breakfast and go to school. I just started first year in school. Our evening session started pretty soon after school finished.
It was another two hour session. This retainment on from Monday to Saturday. If I remember correctly, we only had one session on a Saturday and then Wade's training. This became my life, and I feel now it was the beginning of being groomed by George. He told me I will become an amazing swimmer and told my parents that I was going to be the next big thing. He came to see where I lived and spoke about moving into my state.
I was probably thrilled by this at the time he was my hero and I would have done anything he said. On trips to galas in different parts of Ireland, George would give me a lift with others is hand feeling my leg in the back of the car as he drove? At the time, this didn't strike me as odd or wrong. He was singling me out and making me feel special. Soon after I started in the top team, a voice developed to my head.
Go faster. Don't eat that, keep going, etc, etc. I had so much time on my own, up and down the pool, my own thoughts. Food became something like a control. I began to limit my eating, became obsessed with calories and how much I was eating. This was the start of anorexia. I remember chats with George on the side of the pool during training sessions telling me I was going to swim this race and that race, a gala's feeling special.
On one occasion, he got me out of the pool in front of everyone and asked me to lie on my back. He got me to do backstroke with everyone watching. I remember feeling very uncomfortable, but again, he was singling me out and making me feel special. I was chosen for the Lesters, our schools, our team with the best in Ireland, we were winning all over and. I was chosen for a trip to Italy with other girls, I was getting really good the next big trip was Florida, the chance to train in the 50 metre pool.
George had contacts there and everything would be easy to set up. He was friends with Peter Bongsoo, coached a team over there. I was chosen for this trip. I was 13 years old. Not everyone was chosen to go, and of course, not all the parents would be able to go. I remember I say with a family very close to a shopping center, the girl I was paired up with had no interest in me, so I ended up hanging out with her sister.
I was 13. It was 1991. I only remember snippets of the trip, feeling very lonely, wanted to go home, not eating and always very, very tired. In Florida, I remember training and thunder and lightning storm, and it was an outdoor pool, so the parents were confused by this because it was dangerous, but no one said anything. I was terrified of it. Get struck by a heart attack session ever.
I remember being in a hotel room watching Wimbledon with a few of the other girls. George was calling us, saying one by one, I can't remember why, but I'm thinking you may have told us he wanted to go through our training diaries.
I remember a trip to the wet and wild theme park on the back of my togs. I'm one of the rides. I was terrified that George would see and run back to the lockers to get my tail.
In Episode six, Susan tells the story that one day we were taken from the group to have breakfast with George and he brought us to a hotel. She was taken into one room, me to another. I do not have vivid memories of what happened that day. I remember a hotel room, a man standing in front of me, another person outside walking up and down, perhaps keeping watch, I'm not sure. Nothing is tied together. It is all the more.
I tried very hard to remember over the years, with no success, however, my body remembers and has kept the score. When I returned from Florida, the grueling routine continued. The voice in my head got louder as I swam up and down, up and down the fuckin pool, watching that continuous line in the ground. My eating became a problem. I lost a lot of weight. My mother brought me to see nutritionist sports when I think.
He told me I would have to start eating or I would have to stop swimming. A little more, just enough to get me through. My behavior in school deteriorated, I was continuously in trouble. Nobody joined the dots. Then in 1994, George called a select few of us in our parents into my friend's house, explaining that something was going to break in the papers the next day and it wasn't true. They just wanted to take down the best team in Ireland.
I never saw him again. I remember feeling very sad. What was the point in swimming anymore? I gave up shortly afterwards, I was 17. I changed schools my final year, and this is where I started to take drugs. Every weekend I was out partying. Looking back now, I can see that this numb the pain and helped me forget. I felt so guilty. I knew Susan was not well. I was called and told that she was calling out my name in a psychiatric ward, but I couldn't help.
I can't remember what happened, I was so guilty and it hurt the drugs, took that all away. I was still not eating much, I couldn't after the drugs, and this suited me when I did, I made myself sick and this continued late into my 20s and early 30s. My anorexia turned into bulimia. The drink and drugs were a big part of my 20s and 30s. There were times during this period where I tried to stop and take a look at what had happened in Florida, but I couldn't remember.
I travel the world and run and run away from it all, but it never left me inside.
I was always unhappy and never trusted myself or anyone else. In all my relationships, I was trying to please unsure of how the other person would react and I was worried I had done something wrong.
Then in 2009, I broke down. I got pneumonia and was admitted to hospital flashbacks and muddled memories flooded my brain. I moved back in with my parents trying to piece it all together. I began therapy and started the very slow road of reclaiming my life. It will be a long time to find someone who really understood what I'd been through. It was when I took the step to get in touch with one in four that the real healing started for me.
I've been with the same therapist in there for many years. She's amazing and from the start, I knew what to say and how to be with me. Life is a real struggle at times constantly managing myself, I checked the front door is locked. Many times before I go to bed, I have to manage what I watch on telly. I find it very hard to trust people, even those closest to me. I used to constantly feel like I was being watched.
It comes and goes and I'm back in the horrors. I always feel like I'm being followed and have a strange, eerie feeling when I see boats.
I look at my life now and after many years with one and four, I understand why I did what I did. The bad behavior, the drugs, the eating disorders, the running away, my memory shutting down and not allowing me to remember. It's been like having to relearn how to be in the world again. I do have a good life for myself now. I've learned to live with whatever happened me. I don't feel I need to remember specifics anymore.
I feel I couldn't handle them. Although I do feel guilty that I can't remember in case I could help other victims or bring George to justice. I do still swim and I have to say over and over again. I am Galatas. All those years of open down have actually gave me something I can do and do well. This is where I swim. The obvious question, what I can find happiness in the sea, the pool holds too many memories.
I remember one occasion returning to new park for a swim before work. We met John Mullins on the way and I got a fright. I think he did, too. He said he was glad to see me back swimming again. I did some lengths, but always feeling like I was being watched then later and work, I had a huge panic attack. My whole body began to shake uncontrollably. I'm speaking out now so people understand the depths of what abuse can do.
I can take your life away, your confidence, trust, self belief, your sense of self worth. Leaves you in a mess. And also in the hope that George will one day pay the price in this lifetime. What a shocker. I'm not able to listen to this podcast about George, I'm afraid to I don't want to remember what happened that day. It horrifies me. However, I found the courage to listen to a bit of Episode six about the Sunshine State and Susan.
I was sitting in my car thinking I am the other girl in the other hotel room, the horror has returned again. I'm back with my lady in one four and managing it all again, hoping it will go away. But I know it never will. I just want to be OK. Hello, hello there.
So I'm doing this on my iPad, you need to let me know whether or not the sound is coming through. OK, we'll go back to my phone.
I'm back talking again, ricchiuti with me in my spare bedroom, her in the other side of the Atlantic.
Will you will you talk to me there? Tell me what you see so I can just test the line.
What do you mean? Tell me what what I say or not just chat away. Anything, anything you could just got in my face so.
And I. Got to get my cigarettes, too, and of course, as I said, my coffee, as we say here in America, our coffee, a coffee.
So it was painful and at the same time, it was like it's now no longer a secret and it's not a secret as such anymore. I am in my late 50s. I've had decades to process what happened for myself. I have. Talked in general about it to a couple of people. So over the decades here, I thought I had packed it away neatly, that it had been. Dealt with processed incorporations however you want to Frasers, but then it was just reared its ugly head again and the fact that.
More people have come forward, even on top of those that that attempted to take the court case against him just shows the length and breadth of his depravity because of how many people. He affected. Would you consider taking this further and reporting him? I have considered that, yes. You can't change the past, but you can take control now and you could change the future. What Gibney did. I can't undo. It has impacted me, but.
It does not define my life. He does not define my life.
We're not sure how much this series has impacted George, given his life, he's still living at Altamont Springs, where he found him that very first recording day. He hasn't responded to any of our requests for interview. He stayed silent. But the Irish police have confirmed they're investigating fresh complaints against Gibney complaints from survivors who listen to this series, the guard told us that they encourage all survivors of historic abuse to come forward and they will listen respectfully with sensitivity and compassion.
A week after my call with Judy, I'm outside a house in cold air, it's freezing. The first thing I recorded for the series was sitting in the car at six a.m. in Florida, the lights coming on the torch. This moment now is the last thing I record. This is the journey. Why are you so the same right here? It doesn't like I'm a Burroughs's you remember from Episode two and when Gary O'Toole and I visited her in.
Hi, how are you? I'm really good, it's good to hear your voice and yours. Oh, it's nice to hear a voice from back home.
All is talking with Judy, Judy, and have been e-mailing each other. They talk on the phone. They don't know each other. I've never met. I've been there. And so I just wanted to be able to hold your hand and just give you give you the strength to do this.
I came through clear in your email. I mean, that was very reassuring. And it was a relief that the survivors are now talking with each other.
Nothing to do with me. You could call it sort of an unofficial support group.
And then we were now being given that permission to talk about this and discuss in detail the effects, the after effects.
It's like dropping a pebble in the palms and the ripples in you know, I just felt a gathering of strength as we went along. It was kind of like building up to like an army of people kind of get behind us.
It was really to talk about sea swimming. But yeah, I definitely I the feeling of recession, we still have factories that. I love this ring. Well, there's no coin. It is not for me, it was the smell.
Yeah. And they talk about George Clooney, they talk about justice, it's it was kind of like, I've got a better picture from other people's eyes of how awful it was and how awful he was.
You carry this burden, you know, and you can talk about this.
I've been in therapy. You can talk about this. But it is it is not the same until you hear that someone else has gone through the exact same. You can't change the past, but you can take control now and and affect the future.
Yeah. Oh, that was very nice of you, Judy.
I need you to bear. It was really, really, really good. We did this again just on our own. Yeah, definitely. Yeah. Well, can I ask you to fly Gonave or.
If you've been affected by any of the issues in this series, please contact support organizations in your own country for a list of organizations in the U.K. that can provide support for survivors of sexual abuse. Go to BBC. Dakoda, U.K. forward slash action line. Our email address. Where is George Gibney? A BBC Dakoda UK will remain open even though our series has come to an end. So you can still contact us if you have any information you'd like to share.
And you can find us on social as always at second captains. I'd like to take this opportunity on behalf of myself and all of our production team to thank every single survivor who contacted us and spoke to us throughout the series. I want to say particular thank you to bear to Trish Carney and Chokey Weiss for their trust and support and providing so much inspiration for others. Where is George Gibney is a second captain's production for BBC Science. The series has written and produced by me, Mark Horgan, Kiran Cassidy.
It's co-produced with Maria Horgan and editing is also by Kiran Cassidy. Research a fact checking is by Chilian than our composer is Michael Fleming and sound mixing is by Jerry MacDonald. Caroline's letter was voiced by Claire Mondli and our theme tune is by Aaron Dessner. The executive producer for the BBC is Dylan Hoskins, and the commissioning editor is Jason FIPS. A special thanks to Johnny Warsan, Justin McCarthy, Evan Thami, Carol Walsh, Hugh Ormond to Susan Polk and Matthew Eltringham of the BBC, to Owen McDevitt, Karen Murphy, Simon, Halkett, Kent earnings and captains, and to Amy O'Connor circa Polich and gharial to.
Thanks, too, to everyone around the world for listening, for getting in touch over the 10 episodes, finally, this series is dedicated to Lorraine Kennedy.