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 12:00 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

Fire ban back in effect for Northwest Fire Centre region

Starting May 24, both Category 2 and Category 3 prohibitions will be in place

Convicted animal abuser Catherine Adams to return to B.C. court in July

Catherine Adams is under a 20-year ban on owning animals, from a 2015 sentence in Smithers

Share the road goes both ways

Bad cycling is a hazard to both cyclists and drivers

Alfred sentenced to nine months for sexual interference

Defence says its time to stop jailing Indigenous people

Air Canada brings new Dash 8-Q400 to Smithers airport

Air Canada has made some changes to its fleet serving Smithers Regional Airport (YYD).

600 new campsites coming to provincial parks and recreation sites across B.C.

Tourism Minister announced half of the new spots to 13 most popular provincial parks

Municipalities protest after B.C. declares marijuana growing ‘farm use’

UBCM president seeks answers in letter to John Horgan government

CMHC defends mortgage stress test changes amid calls for loosening rules

Uninsured borrowers must now show they could service their mortgage if rates rose two per cent

Nisga’a Nation tourism industry hits the road

First pilot tour to the Nass Valley is set for this summer with Indigenous Tourism BC

B.C. woman left ‘black and blue’ after being pushed off 40-foot cliff at lake

West Shore RCMP looking for witnesses as investigation continues

Thunderstorms to bring heavy rain, risk of flash floods in the southern Interior

Ten to 30 millimetres of rain to fall over the early weekend

MAY 23: the first of 1,200 trailers start arriving

LNG Canada has a transportation plan in place to minimize impact

Unbe-leaf-able: Agassiz man finds more than 200 four-leaf clovers in a month

Walt Hardinge has found more than 219 four-or-more leaf clovers this spring alone

Crews fight fire with fire to keep blaze from northern Alberta town

The wildfire now covers some 920 square kilometres

Most Read