Editor's note: John Furlong's family issued today (January 23) a statement in response to allegations contained in a statement of defence filed in court by journalist Laura Robinson. Robinson is one of the parties being sued by Furlong over an article published by the Georgia Straight in September 2012. There's a separate claim of defamation against her in connection with an email sent to Own the Podium in November. What follows is the Furlong family's statement.
During the Olympic excitement three years ago, when John Furlong was finishing a decade of service to this country, we would never have imagined this day, stepping forward to defend our father. We, Maria, Johnnie, Damien, Emma, Molly, our mother Margaret, our step-mother Gail and our children -- 11 of them -- feel compelled to make a public statement. Serious, unsubstantiated allegations regarding abuse inside our family have been published. These shocking allegations are without merit and portray a character whom none of us recognizes. We are being subjected to shame and embarrassment by misuse of journalistic privilege and license. Imagine trying to explain to your nine year old child that an adult in a position of power has written that Grandpa is a racist, a wife-beater and a rapist because of what appears to be personal enmity. This is not objective journalism, but self-serving, sensationalistic misuse of the media. Obscene accusations and innuendo have now been printed nation-wide and nothing could possibly undo that. The public should be deeply concerned at the power of a single journalist whose words can smash into a family like a wrecking-ball.
We politely ask that you respect our privacy as this will be our only statement.
The Furlong Family