John Furlong calls allegations '17 months of living hell'
The former Vancouver Olympics CEO says he is looking forward to confronting his accusers in court
Former Vancouver Olympics CEO John Furlong says the police have cleared him of allegations of sexual abuse and he is looking forward to confronting his accuser in court.
Furlong made the statement during an interview with CBC News on Wednesday morning.
"It's been 17 months of living in absolute hell. My family has been pulverized, they've been trashed, they've been vilified. My grandchildren, the same. It's been an absolute horror story for us," said Furlong.
"But we waited for this process to continue, for the investigation to be concluded. Now, along the way, the RCMP did conclude that I was innocent, that there was absolutely no validity to this charge, and they sent me a letter to that effect."
Earlier this week, Furlong issued a statement saying that RCMP had told him that they had found no evidence he sexually abused Burns Lake resident Dorothy Abraham while he was a teacher in the northern B.C. community in the late 1960s.
"They have written me a letter and they told me again that there is no substance to that charge...The RCMP gave me what I've been looking for, for 17 months – my name back."
The RCMP confirmed no charges resulted from the investigation into Abraham's claims, but the file remains open.
When asked why the file remains open, Furlong said he did not know.
"Well perhaps they are looking at the fact that she presented a false charge against me. I've now been cleared. I've had to live in 17 months of living hell over this. Maybe the RCMP are looking at that?"
Abraham has filed a complaint against the RCMP claiming the investigation was biased.
Newspaper lawsuit dropped
Furlong also said he is dropping a lawsuit against the weekly paper that first published the allegations last fall, but that he is still suing the author of the article, Laura Robinson, for defamation.
"I decided it was time to take my life back …and I'm frankly looking forward to confronting Laura Robinson in court."
In the lawsuit he filed against Robinson last fall, he said she "maliciously intended to injure his reputation" with an article published in the Georgia Straight in September 2012.
"I decided it was time to release the Georgia Straight because my argument is with the media," he said.
"My goal now is that no person has to face this – that they can be so summarily trashed without any proof," he said.
"This was never about money for me. Never. Not for a second. It was about my reputation, and I live with a question mark over my head in this city that I love and gave an enormous amount of my life along with others too, and the Georgia Straight put me into a terrible situation in the city that I live. They did horrible things to us with that story.
"You can never imagine what this is like, until you're in it."
After the newspaper published the story, two women — Abraham and Grace West — who claimed to be former students of Furlong's filed lawsuits alleging physical and sexual abuse against Furlong.
Those allegations were denied in statements of defence filed with the court by Furlong in September this year. The same day, a third sex abuse lawsuit was filed in Vancouver by a man also claiming to be a former student of Furlong's.
None of the claims has been proven in court.
Reacting to Furlong's statement Tuesday, Robinson rejected Furlong's suggestion she maliciously intended to injure his reputation.
"Of course there was no 'campaign' – just due diligence," wrote Robinson.