Reporter sues Furlong for defamation

The freelance journalist who wrote an article containing allegations that John Furlong abused students while teaching in northern British Columbia is now suing the former Vancouver Olympic CEO for defamation.

VANCOUVER — The freelance journalist who wrote an article containing allegations that John Furlong abused students while teaching in northern British Columbia is now suing the former Vancouver Olympic CEO for defamation.

Laura Robinson has filed a notice of claim, alleging Furlong defamed her in a series of comments to the media in the past year and a half, in which he cast himself as the target of a vindictive activist.

Furlong responded with a written statement that said he looked forward to confronting Robinson in court.

Robinson’s article, which was published in the Georgia Straight newspaper in September 2012, quoted several people who claimed they were physically and verbally abused while Furlong was a teacher in northern B.C. in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Furlong then held a news conference in Vancouver denying the allegations and accusing Robinson of waging a campaign to destroy his reputation. He has repeated similar comments in subsequent written statements and media interviews, including a week-long media blitz last October.

Robinson’s notice of claim cites six instances when, she alleges, Furlong made false and defamatory comments.

They include his September 2012 news conference, when he said Robinson displayed a “shocking lack of diligence” and that the Georgia Straight didn’t contact him before running the story, as well as a written statement the following week that repeated many of his criticisms of her.

The lawsuit also cites a written statement Furlong issued last October and a pair interviews the same week with Global News and Maclean’s magazine, during which Furlong again repeated his complaints.

Lastly, the document points to a written statement issued by Furlong last December that accused Robinson of a “historic pattern of inaccuracy.”

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