British Columbia

John Furlong on abuse allegations: 'I forgive all of it'

Former 2010 Olympics CEO makes his first major speech after abuse allegations case.

Former 2010 Olympics CEO makes first major speech after case involving allegations of abuse

John Furlong told a Vancouver Board of Trade luncheon his "world came crashing down," when the news story alleging abuse first appeared. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

Former Vancouver Olympics CEO John Furlong says he felt like he was being accused of letting Canada down when a newspaper published allegations that he abused First Nations students more than 40 years ago.

The man who steered the 2010 Winter Olympic Games has delivered his first major speech in three years to a packed, welcoming audience at a Board of Trade event in Vancouver.

Furlong says he had many friends before Laura Robinson wrote an article in the Georgia Straight that included allegations he beat and taunted students at a northern B.C. school in 1969 and 1970.

He says that when the article was published in September 2012, his world came crashing down and many of his friends disappeared.

"The day that my world came crashing down, I know I had thousands of friends, definitely hundreds of friends here and around the world and it just seemed like almost immediately ... most of them went away."

Robinson filed a defamation suit over Furlong's public comments after the article was published, and last month a B.C. Supreme Court judge ruled he had a right to defend himself from her attacks on his character, conduct and credibility.

While the judge found numerous errors in Robinson's reporting, the allegations in the article have not been tested in court because Furlong dropped his own defamation suit earlier this year.

"Well, I forgive all of it," he said when asked if he had forgiven Robinson. "I haven't been asked to and I don't think I might be ever asked but I just let it all go."


With files from CBC


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