British Columbia

John Furlong, ex-CEO of VANOC, says 'nightmare' of false accusations finally over

Former Vancouver Olympics CEO John Furlong tells reporters the "unimaginable nightmare" he lived through while under suspicion of abusing former students is finally over.

Ex-Olympics CEO holds news conference to talk about ordeal after final sex abuse lawsuit against him dropped

'It is extraordinary and unacceptable that anyone can make ruinous, toxic allegations against a citizen, put them on the public record via the courts and then abandon them with impunity,' says John Furlong. (CBC)

Former Vancouver Olympics CEO John Furlong told reporters at a news conference today that the "unimaginable nightmare" he lived through while under suspicion of abusing his former students has finally ended.

Saying he just wanted to move on with his life, Furlong also announced he would end his defamation lawsuit against Georgia Straight writer Laura Robinson, who published the initial allegations of verbal and physical abuse against Furlong.

How can this be acceptable? More importantly, how did it even happen?— John Furlong, after sex abuse lawsuits dismissed

However, Robinson, who is suing Furlong for questioning her journalistic credibility, said in a statement she has no intention of dropping her court action.

"At the time the Georgia Straight article was published, I wasn't even aware of the allegations made by Grace Jessie West and the male whose case was dismissed on Monday," she said. 

"My story was based on serious allegations made by numerous individuals, including allegations contained in eight sworn affidavits, and I stand by the work I did. I feel that the dropping of Mr. Furlong's lawsuit against me today is recognition that my reporting on the serious allegations was responsible and appropriate."

"My suit is about an attack on my integrity and professional conduct as a journalist. It has never been about these three cases. "I look forward to my June 15, 2015, court date. I am pleased that the lawsuit against me has been dropped. I stand by the research and work that I did."

2 accusers didn't attend Furlong's school

Furlong's lawyer, Claire Hunter, told the news conference two of Furlong's accusers, Grace West and Daniel Morice, never attended Immaculata Elementary School in Burns Lake where the abuse was alleged to have occurred.

She said it was Robinson who prepared statements for West and Morice in which they stated they had attended the school.

Robinson said she did not "prepare statements." She told CBC News that "as a journalist, I wrote down what they told me, asked them to make corrections and they signed a hard copy of what they said."

Hunter said there is proof Morice attended Lejac Elementary School during the time in question, and was awarded $100,000 in damages from the government for the treatment he received at that school. 

At the news conference, Furlong described Morice as a known felon with 53 criminal convictions including fraud, forgery, assault and kidnapping.

In the nearly three years since he was accused of abusing former students while he was a teacher in northern B.C. during the late 1960s, Furlong has repeatedly and vigorously denied any wrongdoing.

On Tuesday, he called the allegations against him, false, horrible, hurtful and highly damaging.

"It is extraordinary and unacceptable that anyone can make ruinous, toxic allegations against a citizen, put them on the public record via the courts and then abandon them with impunity, seemingly without consequences, leaving untold damage and pain behind," he said.

"How can this be acceptable? More importantly how did it even happen?

Although lawsuits were filed against him alleging abuse, Furlong was never charged with any crime.

Corrections

  • A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Laura Robinson's initial story contained allegations of sexual abuse when in fact it only referred to verbal and physical abuse.
    Apr 01, 2015 8:23 AM PT

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