An independent investigation has concluded that the Vancouver Whitecaps’ response to allegations of misconduct by former women’s coaches Bob Birarda and Hubert Busby Jr. was serious and “appropriate.”
But the report, prepared for Major League Soccer by lawyers Janice Rubin and Melody Jahanzadeh of Rubin Thomlinson LLP, says while the club acted “expeditiously” in hiring an experienced workplace investigator, there were issues with the investigation itself.
MLS hired the law firm in November to review how the Whitecaps dealt with sexual misconduct allegations against Birarda in 2008 and Busby in 2011.
The report says the investigations were “superficial and lacking in depth.” And it concludes some of the investigator’s findings “seemed overly generous” to Birarda and Busby, despite the evidence about their misconduct towards players.
Birarda also served as coach for the Canadian women’s under-20 team, and a separate independent review released in late July concluded Canada Soccer “mishandled” sexual harassment allegations involving him in 2008.
In February, Birarda pleaded guilty to three counts of sexual assault and one count of sexual exploitation for sexual touching for offences between 1988 and 2008. His sentencing hearing is set to continue on Sept. 2.
Busby has been accused of pressuring a former player for sex in 2011 when he was head coach of the Whitecaps women’s team. The allegation has not been tested in court.
Busby has denied the allegations.
Both coaches left the team in the wake of the allegations.