Former Vancouver Olympic CEO John Furlong poses in Toronto on Oct. 29

Sexual abuse suit against John Furlong tossed

Sexual abuse suit against former Vancouver Olympics CEO John Furlong dismissed

  • Feb. 17, 2015 1:00 p.m.

By Geordon Omand, The Canadian Press

VANCOUVER – A judge has thrown out a second sexual abuse lawsuit against former Vancouver Olympics CEO John Furlong.

In a decision released Tuesday, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Miriam Gropper dismissed a claim filed by Grace West in 2013.

West alleged Furlong sexually abused her while he was a teacher at Immaculata Elementary School in Burns Lake in 1969 and 1970.

Referencing school records submitted by Furlong’s lawyer, Gropper concluded that West was not a student at the school at the time of the alleged abuse.

“On the basis of that evidence and there being no evidence to the contrary, I must find that Ms. West did not attend Immaculata in 1969 to 1970,” Gropper said in a written ruling.

“Her claim against Mr. Furlong, alleging that she was abused while a student at Immaculata in that school year, is not sustainable.

“In all the circumstances, I must dismiss Ms. West’s action.”

A statement from Furlong’s lawyer, Claire Hunter, said her client is pleased with the ruling.

“The false allegations brought against Mr. Furlong have caused great pain to him and his family over the last several years,” Hunter said.

“He views the damage it has done to his reputation as almost incalculable.”

The judge ruled that Furlong is entitled to costs.

His legal team filed an application last month to have West’s claim tossed.

It said her name appears on records showing she attended St. Joseph’s School in Smithers during the years when the abuse was alleged to have occurred.

According to the application, West initially failed to list Immaculata as one of the schools she had attended when interviewed by Furlong’s lawyers as part of pre-trial proceedings in 2014.

She was also unable to recall the name of the school where the abuse allegedly happened, Furlong’s lawyer said, adding that after a break in proceedings she said the school’s name was Immaculata.

West is one of three people who claimed they suffered sexual abuse by Furlong.

Beverly Abraham dropped her lawsuit in December, saying she was unable to handle the stress of legal proceedings on top of coping with the recent deaths of three family members.

A lawsuit by a third person, an unidentified man, has been undermined by court documents suggesting he too attended a different school during the time he said Furlong abused him.

Lawyer Jason Gratl initially represented all three claimants but withdrew from the two remaining lawsuits. He declined comment on the reasons, citing solicitor-client privilege.

The remaining lawsuit is scheduled to go to trial March 30.

Furlong has vehemently denied all allegations of sexual abuse, which first surfaced in 2012 after a Vancouver-based weekly newspaper published an article accusing him of verbal and physical abuse.

Furlong sued the paper and reporter Laura Robinson for defamation, later dropping the newspaper from the lawsuit. Robinson, in turn, countered with her own defamation suit against Furlong.

The Canadian Press has a policy of not naming alleged sex assault victims. Both West and Abraham agreed to have their names published but the man did not.

Follow @gwomand on Twitter

Just Posted

Nearly $500,000 available for internships with northern B.C. First Nations governments

Funds announced through partnership with Northern Development and Government of Canada

Terrace husband and wife honoured for saving each other’s lives

BC Ambulance presented each a Vital Link Award for separate incidents of CPR

$15 million spent on cancelled transmition line

BC Hydro had already spent approximately $15 million on planning a new… Continue reading

College buys a yurt to boost student success

Round tent-like structure part of college instructional shift

Council supports lobby for fair share of cannabis tax revenue

The City of Terrace is throwing its support behind a West Kelowna… Continue reading

B.C. cougar kitten rescued after mother struck by vehicle

Conservation Officers find home for young kitten found dehydrated and frostbitten near Williams Lake

Animal protection group urges B.C. vet association to ban cat declawing

Nova Scotia was the first Canadian province to ban declawing

Barenaked Ladies, Steven Page, to be inducted into Canadian Music Hall of Fame

Canadian band to get top honours at 2018 JUNO Awards

B.C. out of the running for Amazon’s next headquarters

Toronto is the only Canadian city left in the running despite the province backing Metro Vancouver’s bid for new Amazon headquarters

B.C. hockey player nominated for Hobey Baker Award

Myles Powell is a forward at Rochester Institute of Technology

Post interest rate hike debt tips

What to do about your debt and mortgages after the interest rate hike

Foreign workers sleeping in Alberta Burger King basement

Alberta Health Services said its inspectors found foreign workers sleeping in the basement of the Lethbridge restaurant

Court application halts release of bread price-fixing documents

Bread price-fixing documents won’t be unsealed Thursday, Loblaw says

Pharrell and N.E.R.D to headline NBA All-Star halftime show

11-time Grammy winner Pharrell and his hip hop-rock band N.E.R.D. will headline the halftime show at the 2018 NBA All-Star game in Los Angeles

Most Read