The former CEO of the Vancouver Olympics has claimed in several media interviews that journalist and author Laura Robinson went to the RCMP with allegations that he had sexually abused a former student.
But in a statement of defence filed in B.C. Supreme Court, John Furlong revealed that this wasn't because of any "actual knowledge".
Furlong's statement is in response to Robinson's notice of civil claim alleging defamation.
In it, he declares that he "believes that the plaintiff brought Beverly Abraham's allegations to the RCMP based on his diligent review of the information available to him and the information provided to him by the RCMP".
"The defendant Furlong has no direct or actual knowledge of whether the plaintiff initiated a complaint with or otherwise reported Ms. Abraham's allegations to the RCMP," the document adds.
Furlong has sued Robinson in connection with an article in the Georgia Straight in September 2012, in which she reported that he had been a teacher at a Burns Lake Catholic elementary school in 1969 and 1970.
The article included no allegations of a sexual nature, but quoted former students' claims that Furlong had physically abused and racially taunted First Nations students.
Furlong has denied that this occurred.
After the article was published, three people claiming to be former students, including Abraham, filed lawsuits against Furlong alleging sexual abuse. He has vehemently denied these claims in court documents and in public statements.
Meanwhile, RCMP Cpl. Quinton Mackie has written to Furlong saying that the Mounties believe that Abraham's claims "are not supported", which is why there are no grounds for recommending charges against the former Olympics CEO in this case.
Furlong later made several public statements maintaining that he had been "cleared" by the RCMP; the three lawsuits are still before the courts.
The three plaintiffs have added a claim of defamation against Furlong.
Furlong also sued the Georgia Straight but filed a notice of discontinuance against the paper last year.
In a statement issued today, Robinson noted that Furlong has "made the following statements in the media tying Ms. Robinson to the sexual abuse allegations":
- October 29, 2013 “Enough is Enough” statement: “After a thorough investigation, the RCMP have cleared me of the allegations that Ms. Robinson brought to the RCMP on behalf of Beverly Abraham in the summer of 2012. ....Given the finding of innocence by the RCMP I am today discontinuing my legal action against the Georgia Straight…Their publication of this reckless article went ahead even after being warned by the RCMP about material, serious discrepancies in Laura Robinson’s reporting….My defamation case against Laura Robinson will continue and be escalated – she is the perpetrator of these defamatory allegations….In forty years of living, working and public service in BC, there had never been a complaint about me. Never a criminal charge, or a reason for one. Laura Robinson then made one. The RCMP has found her allegation against me to be completely unfounded.”
- October 29, 2013 Macleans Magazine interview: “It was a ridiculous charge. It was a lie. And it was placed before the RCMP by Laura Robinson.”
- October 28, 2013 interview with Chris Gailus, Global TV: “And what’s odd about it is that this activist in fact filed a complaint, not the student. She filed it, she went to the RCMP and made the complaint…she was the one that did that.”
- December 12, 2013 Statement and News Release: “My decision to seek a trial has been made in light of an official letter I received yesterday from the RCMP that fully exonerates me with respect to Ms. Abraham’s false allegations, some of which were also published by the activist Laura Robinson…This conclusion by the RCMP—following a 16-month investigation….is further proof of reckless inaccuracy by the activist Laura Robinson. On September 27, 2012 this activist published an article in The Georgia Straight, outlining some of Ms. Abraham’s false allegations.”
Robinson's statement maintained that Abraham filed the police complaint "on her own volition".
Furlong's statement of defence repeats his oft-stated claim that Robinson's allegations in a court document "were part of a malicious act and personal vendetta...to allow 'back-door' publication of defamatory comments in a manner that may deny the defendant recourse under defamation laws".
He also claimed that Robinson's "journalistic techniques are highly unorthodox, prejudicial and skewed to creating innuendo".
Robinson's statement included this reply: "The rest of Mr. Furlong’s Response contains his usual charges against Ms. Robinson; charges she looks forward to defending during her defamation case against Mr. Furlong commencing March 30, 2015. Ms. Robinson and her counsel Bryan Baynham cannot comment further at this time."