Woman drops sexual assault allegations, lawsuit against former Olympics CEO John Furlong

VANCOUVER — John Furlong has always maintained his innocence, and describes allegations of abuse made against him as “horrible, heartless lies.” The embattled sports figure, best known for directing Vancouver’s 2010 Olympic Winter Games, now has one fewer accuser.

Late last week, a First Nations woman named Beverly Abraham withdrew a lawsuit and allegations of sexual abuse that she had levelled at Mr. Furlong.

Ms. Abraham claimed in a July 2013 notice of civil claim filed with B.C. Supreme Court that Mr. Furlong had “sexually molested” her “approximately 12 times,” from November 1969 to May 1970, while she was a young student and he was a teacher at Immaculata Roman Catholic Elementary School in Burns Lake, in the B.C. interior.

Ms. Abraham told the CBC that she withdrew the lawsuit after seeking advice from local hereditary chiefs. “I’ve asked them what should I do, because it’s been stressing me out and this has been years,” she told CBC reporter Jason Proctor, in a story published Tuesday. “So what they told me is just forgive him, and leave him up to God.”

Two other First Nations members who attended Immaculata elementary in 1969 and 1970 also filed lawsuits last year, with their own accusations of sexual and physical abuse directed at Mr. Furlong. He denies all of the allegations.

Jason Gratl, a Vancouver-based lawyer who has acted for all three accusers, says he no longer represents Ms. Abraham and a second claimant, Grace Jessie West. He is in the process of formally withdrawing as counsel for the third claimant, Daniel Morice. Mr. Gratl could not say whether Ms. West and Mr. Morice will proceed with their lawsuits.

All three lawsuits were filed in B.C. Supreme Court following an incendiary article about Mr. Furlong and his Burns Lake teaching days, published in the Georgia Straight, a Vancouver weekly newspaper. Written by Ontario-based sports journalist Laura Robinson, the September 2012 article included allegations from eight former Immaculata students — including Ms. Abraham — of physical and verbal abuse by Mr. Furlong. None of the accounts described in the article included sexual abuse.

Mr. Furlong held a press conference immediately after the Georgia Straight story was published and denied the allegations. He then filed suit against the newspaper and Ms. Robinson, accusing them of defamation. Last year, he withdrew his claim against the newspaper and said he would “escalate” his lawsuit against Ms. Robinson, whom he went on to label “a long-time activist” who “masquerades as a responsible journalist” and who is on a “vicious campaign” to destroy his reputation.

No trial date has been scheduled for Mr. Furlong’s defamation case against Ms. Robinson.

Ms. Robinson is herself suing Mr. Furlong for defamation. She told the National Post in an email Tuesday that a June 2015 trial date has been reserved in B.C. Supreme Court. “I very much look forward to the trial so I can get on with my life,” she wrote, “and hopefully the [former] students can get on with theirs.”

National Post

• Email: bhutchinson@nationalpost.com | Twitter: hutchwriter

VANCOUVER — John Furlong has always maintained his innocence, and describes allegations of abuse made against him as “horrible, heartless lies.” The embattled sports figure, best known for directing Vancouver’s 2010 Olympic Winter Games, now has one fewer accuser.

Late last week, a First Nations woman named Beverly Abraham withdrew a lawsuit and allegations of sexual abuse that she had levelled at Mr. Furlong.

Ms. Abraham claimed in a July 2013 notice of civil claim filed with B.C. Supreme Court that Mr. Furlong had “sexually molested” her “approximately 12 times,” from November 1969 to May 1970, while she was a young student and he was a teacher at Immaculata Roman Catholic Elementary School in Burns Lake, in the B.C. interior.

Ms. Abraham told the CBC that she withdrew the lawsuit after seeking advice from local hereditary chiefs. “I’ve asked them what should I do, because it’s been stressing me out and this has been years,” she told CBC reporter Jason Proctor, in a story published Tuesday. “So what they told me is just forgive him, and leave him up to God.”

Two other First Nations members who attended Immaculata elementary in 1969 and 1970 also filed lawsuits last year, with their own accusations of sexual and physical abuse directed at Mr. Furlong. He denies all of the allegations.

Jason Gratl, a Vancouver-based lawyer who has acted for all three accusers, says he no longer represents Ms. Abraham and a second claimant, Grace Jessie West. He is in the process of formally withdrawing as counsel for the third claimant, Daniel Morice. Mr. Gratl could not say whether Ms. West and Mr. Morice will proceed with their lawsuits.

All three lawsuits were filed in B.C. Supreme Court following an incendiary article about Mr. Furlong and his Burns Lake teaching days, published in the Georgia Straight, a Vancouver weekly newspaper. Written by Ontario-based sports journalist Laura Robinson, the September 2012 article included allegations from eight former Immaculata students — including Ms. Abraham — of physical and verbal abuse by Mr. Furlong. None of the accounts described in the article included sexual abuse.

Mr. Furlong held a press conference immediately after the Georgia Straight story was published and denied the allegations. He then filed suit against the newspaper and Ms. Robinson, accusing them of defamation. Last year, he withdrew his claim against the newspaper and said he would “escalate” his lawsuit against Ms. Robinson, whom he went on to label “a long-time activist” who “masquerades as a responsible journalist” and who is on a “vicious campaign” to destroy his reputation.

No trial date has been scheduled for Mr. Furlong’s defamation case against Ms. Robinson.

Ms. Robinson is herself suing Mr. Furlong for defamation. She told the National Post in an email Tuesday that a June 2015 trial date has been reserved in B.C. Supreme Court. “I very much look forward to the trial so I can get on with my life,” she wrote, “and hopefully the [former] students can get on with theirs.”

National Post

• Email: bhutchinson@nationalpost.com | Twitter: hutchwriter

Source:: Woman drops sexual assault allegations, lawsuit against former Olympics CEO John Furlong

Related News
The nation's largest doctors' group is quietly preparing for possible changes in federal laws governing physician-assisted death, as support among its own members for medical aid in dying grows.The Canadian ...
READ MORE
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Documents obtained by The Associated Press show that Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston has been cleared of the allegations he faced at a student code of conduct... ...
READ MORE
It was soon after her July 2005 heart transplant, Jean Higgins, under treatment for a complication of the surgery, began to question the new organ beating inside her chest.“I got ...
READ MORE
Peter Kassig, the American aid worker murdered by Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) in Syria, may have been killed by a gunshot wound rather than beheading, analysis has ...
READ MORE
Doctors would be justified to end the lives of some terminally impaired newborn babies, says a prominent Canadian bioethicist in a report that pushes the country's euthanasia debate into provocative ...
READ MORE
A Muslim convert who left Ottawa last year to join ISIS resurfaced in a propaganda video on Sunday to threaten Canadians they will be “indiscriminately targeted” in retaliation for joining ...
READ MORE
OTTAWA — The Ottawa man who appears in an ISIS video encouraging attacks on Canada likely had an identity crisis rather than a breakdown, a radicalization expert has told ...
READ MORE
BEIRUT — Lebanese judicial officials said Tuesday that authorities have issued a formal arrest warrant for a wife of the Islamic State (ISIS) group leader and referred the detained woman ...
READ MORE
Canadian doctors preparing for ‘all eventualities’ in case
Jameis Winston cleared by judge of sexual-assault allegations
Heart transplant recipients can face serious distress from
U.S. aid worker likely shot by ISIS, not
End-of-life debate turns to newborns: ‘Postnatal abortion’ morally
John Maguire, an ISIS fighter from Ottawa, appears
Ottawa ISIS fighter who threatened Canada probably had
Lebanon formally arrests wife of ISIS leader on
Share Button