Jason Corbett: claims Irish-US citizenship sought rejected
Family rejects claims late Irish man had plan to seek dual citizenship for his two children
Originally from Limerick city, Jason Corbett (39) died on August 2nd, 2015, in his home in North Carolina, US, during a domestic disturbance.
The family of the late Jason Corbett have strongly rejected claims that he was about to seek joint Irish-US citizenship for his children, describing statements by his American widow and in-laws as “deluded”.
His American wife Molly Martens Corbett and her father Thomas Martens (65), a former FBI agent, have been named by police as “persons of interest” in the investigation into his death, but so far nobody has been arrested.
Following two weeks of uncertainty, a US court-appointed lawyer granted guardianship of the Limerick-born children to Jason’s sister Tracey Lynch and her husband David.
The couple were named as legal guardians to Jack and Sarah in their father’s will following the death of his first wife Mags Corbett, who died from an asthma attack in 2006.
After a protracted legal process, the children were eventually returned to Limerick a week ago and attended their father’s funeral last week.
Molly Martens has lodged an appeal against the court’s decision to appoint guardianship to the Lynchs.
In an interview with Newstalk radio on Monday, Ms Martens’s uncle Mike Earnest, a special agent fraud investigator with the Federal Law Enforcement agency, claimed Jason Corbett had said he intended to “get joint citizenship for himself and the children. This would mean that it would help Molly to be able to adopt them.
“Jason said this was his intention, and the extended family in the US believe this to be true.
“The family believes the truth behind all of this will come out. We have a lot of faith in the US justice system. None of us really know what happened that night [the circumstances around Jason’s death].”
Reacting to the interview, John Corbett – an older brother of the late Jason, insisted this was not the case and said his brother never “entertained the idea of making his children dual American-Irish citizens”.
He said his brother had confided in a close friend that he wished for the children to grow up in Ireland.
“Jason, Jack and Sarah’s legal residence status or green card application was deliberately done through Jason’s job by Jason, and it was specifically to protect the children,” he said.
“Myself and my family have tried to handle this traumatic story in a dignified way, but we feel we need to respond.”
Mr Corbett said his family are solely focused on caring for Jack and Sarah, but said they remain in constant contact with their lawyers in North Carolina about the police investigation into his brother’s death.
“Jack and Sarah are in a very normal loving and secure environment. They are mourning their dad and have honestly and surprisingly not asked once for their stepmum, Molly Martens,” he revealed.
“My sister and family are focused only on the care and nurturing and needs of Jack and Sarah, not ourselves. There is no narcissism on our side, only pure love for my brother’s children,” he said.
Speaking on Monday, Mike Earnest claimed his niece Ms Martens will do everything she can to gain custody of the children.
“The children don’t deserve to be wrenched away without being allowed a proper goodbye.
“The children were never interviewed by the court and asked what they wanted.
“Molly and all the children’s family here have not heard from them since leaving here almost two weeks ago.
“This is why she is sending them messages over Facebook to let them know how much she loves them and in the hope she will hear from them.”
John Corbett said his sister Tracey Lynch and other family members spent over two weeks in the US after their brother died, unable to see Jack and Sarah, and were forced to engage in a protracted legal process.
He said since his brother’s death, the family’s legal bills in the US now stand at US$150,000 (€133,600).
“If Molly Martens had any real maternal feelings or love for those children, my nephew or niece, or any sensitivity, she would not be seeking to traumatise them further.
“However, I can assure the public the kids are not even aware of any of this coverage, despite the fact that Ms Molly Martens is bombarding her Facebook account with pictures of my brother’s and Mags’ children - with not one mention of my beloved brother Jason Corbett,” he said.
Mr Corbett said Ms Martens was initially employed by his brother as Jack and Sarah’s nanny until they moved to North Carolina in 2011, and later married.
“To clear up any misconceptions, Molly Martens was hired to do a job which was general cleaning and bring Jack and Sarah to and from the crèche every day.
“In the three and a half years [they were in the US] there has been 18 visits to Ireland with Jack and Sarah,” he added.
Mr Corbett said his niece and nephew are settling in well since they arrived home to Limerick and are both due to start school this week.