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 2:00 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

Province announces $100-million grant funding for Northwest communities

The Northern Capital and Planning Grant will go to four regional districts and 22 municipalities

Prince Rupert Gas Transmission project searches for partners

TransCanada is renewing permits for its natural gas pipeline project to North Coast.

Coastal GasLink stops work to investigate archaeological find

OGC archaeologists are en route to the Houston-area site where Unist’ot’en report finding stone tools

All Native Basketball Tournament Day 5: Recap

Highlights and results from day 5 at the All Native Tournament

All Native Basketball Tournament Day 6: Preview

Look ahead to all the action scheduled for Feb. 16 at the All Native Tournament

B.C. students win Great Waters Challenge video contest

Video, mural and song about saving the salmon claims the top prize

B.C. VIEWS: Power politics wins over rational energy policy

B.C Hydro continues to face interference on rates

PR firm suspends contract with former B.C. premier amid groping accusation

Edelman says in a statement that Campbell has served as a special adviser to the firm since last July

James says B.C. budget puts priorities on NDP’s poverty, environment plans

She said she expected the government’s poverty reduction and climate change strategies to be priorities in the budget

PHOTOS: Day 1 of the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer

Games kicked off in Red Deer this week

Ammonia leak shuts down curling club in Nelson

It’s not yet clear when the leak was detected

Pavelski’s 31st goal helps Sharks top Canucks 3-2

Vancouver one point out of second NHL wild-card spot

Eight cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver outbreak

Coastal Health official say the cases stem from the French-language Ecole Jules Verne Secondary

Ontario police field complaints over Amber Alert for missing girl, 11, found dead

Some said the Amber Alert issued late Thursday for Riya Rajkumar disrupted their sleep

Most Read