John Furlong is shown during an interview with The Canadian Press in Vancouver

John Furlong is shown during an interview with The Canadian Press in Vancouver

Furlong seeks to dismiss sexual-abuse lawsuit

Former Vancouver Olympics boss seeks to dismiss sexual abuse lawsuit

  • Jan. 29, 2015 4:00 p.m.

By Laura Kane, The Canadian Press

VANCOUVER – A British Columbia judge has reserved a decision on whether to throw out a sexual abuse lawsuit against former Vancouver Olympics CEO John Furlong.

Grace West filed the suit in 2013, alleging Furlong sexually abused her while he was a teacher at Immaculata School in Burns Lake in 1969 and 1970.

Furlong’s lawyer has applied to have West’s lawsuit dismissed, arguing that she went to a different school at the time of the alleged abuse.

B.C. Supreme Court Judge Miriam Gropper reserved her decision after a hearing on the application Thursday. It was not immediately clear when she will deliver her ruling.

The application claims that West’s name does not appear in student records for Immaculata and that records show she was attending St. Joseph’s School in Smithers.

When Furlong’s lawyers interviewed West in 2014 as part of pre-trial proceedings, she was asked to list the schools she had attended but Immaculata was not among them, according to the application.

She was unable to initially remember the name of the school she attended where she said the abuse occurred, Furlong’s lawyers say, adding that after a break she said the school’s name was Immaculata.

Records for St. Joseph’s School show that a Jessie West with the same birth date and father’s name attended between 1966 and 1970, according to the court documents, which also say that West went by Jessie — her middle name — until she was 16 years old.

“The evidence is clear that Ms. West did not attend Immaculata during the relevant time period,” the application says, adding that if this evidence is accepted, “the action must be dismissed.”

West is one of three people who alleged sexual abuse by Furlong. Beverly Abraham dropped her lawsuit last month, while an unidentified man’s legal action has been undermined by court documents that suggest he attended a different school at the time of the alleged abuse.

Furlong has vehemently denied the allegations.

Lawyer Jason Gratl initially represented all three of the claimants but recently withdrew from the two remaining lawsuits.

He said Thursday that he couldn’t comment on the reasons involved due to solicitor-client privilege.

Court documents say that West has not obtained a new lawyer and has not replied to correspondence since August. Furlong’s lawyers also say that she has not provided information they have requested.

No application has been made to dismiss the unidentified man’s lawsuit and a trial is scheduled to begin March 30. He has also alleged Furlong abused him at Immaculata in 1969 and 1970.

Court documents produced by Furlong’s lawyers indicate the man filed a claim for compensation under the Indian residential schools settlement, in which he said he attended Lejac Residential School in Fraser Lake, B.C., from 1966 to 1975.

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

Allegations related to Furlong’s time as a teacher in northern B.C. first surfaced in 2012, when a weekly Vancouver-based newspaper published an article accusing him of physical and verbal abuse.

Furlong filed a defamation lawsuit against the paper and reporter Laura Robinson, though he later dropped the newspaper as a plaintiff. Robinson, in turn, filed her own defamation lawsuit against Furlong.

— Follow @ellekane on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

An Extinction Rebellion Vancouver Island (XRVI) climate change event in 2019 saw a large crowd occupy the Johnson Street bridge. (Black Press Media file photo)
TRAFFIC: Protest occupying one lane of Douglas Street southbound

Extinction Rebellion activists are marching from Vancouver to the B.C. legislative building

One person has been arrested following an assault on a man with Down syndrome along Dallas Road April 17. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man with Down syndrome attacked along Dallas Road

Suspected assailant arrested, sent to hospital for mental health assessment

Victoria police are asking for help locating high-risk missing man Derek Whittaker, last seen in Victoria April 12. (Courtesy of VicPD)
MISSING: Police searching for Derek Whittaker, last seen in Victoria

Whittaker believed to be driving 1994 red Volkswagen Golf

Victoria police arrested a wanted man April 19, seizing drugs, firearms and body armour. (Courtesy of VicPD)
Drugs, loaded weapons, body armour seized from Victoria suite

Man was wanted for the possession of drugs for the purpose of trafficking

Colwood resident Maria Curcic shows off a one-of-a-kind hat that she created. Curcic is one of several artists that took part in the annual Stinking Fish Studio Tour. (Contributed - Maria Curcic)
Curtain closes on Stinking Fish Studio Tour

The Stinking Fish Studio Tour will live on through the lasting legacy… Continue reading

Pub patio in Victoria reopens with widely spaced tables, June 2020. Restaurants and pubs across are restricted to take-out and patio service only until May 25 at the earliest. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
B.C. extends COVID-19 indoor dining, group fitness ban until May 25

Don’t travel outside your region, Dr. Bonnie Henry warns

Chakalaka Bar & Grill remains open in defiance of orders from Island Health to close. (Cole Schisler photo)
Island Health seeks injunction against restaurant defying Covid-19 orders

VIHA says Ladysmith-area Chakalaka Bar and Grill also violating water and sewer regulations

Pharmacist Barbara Violo arranges all the empty vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines that she has provided to customers at the Junction Chemist which is a independent pharmacy during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto, on Monday, April 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. to target people ages 40+ in ‘high risk communities’ with AstraZeneca vaccine

A total of 13 neighbourhoods and communities will receive the AstraZeneca vaccine

Carver Ken Sheen had almost finished work on a large cowboy carving commissioned by the City of Williams Lake to replace the original overlooking the Stampede Grounds when fire broke out Friday, April 18 at his property between Williams Lake and Quesnel. (Pine River Carving Facebook photos)
Cow boss statue destined for Williams Lake Stampede Grounds goes up in flames

Carver Ken Sheen lost the statue, all his tools and his shop in the blaze

B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains. (Hansard TV)
B.C. moves to protect employee pay for COVID-19 vaccination

Most won’t need to take time off work, labour minister says

Orca 1
Orcas: Our Shared Future finally surfaces at Royal B.C. Museum

Museum dives into the world of the killer whale as delayed feature exhibition now open

Polystyrene has been outlawed as a take-out option for restaurants in Tofino and Ucluelet. (Black Press Media file photo)
Styrofoam done as a takeout option on Island’s Pacific Rim

Tofino and Ucluelet ban polystyrene take-out containers

Most Read