Woman withdraws sexual abuse lawsuit against former Vanoc CEO John Furlong
One of the women who accused former Vancouver Olympic CEO John Furlong of sexual abuse has withdrawn her lawsuit, citing family reasons.
A B.C. Supreme Court judge granted Beverly Mary Abraham’s request for dismissal on Friday.
The allegations surfaced following an article, published two years ago in the Georgia Straight and written by Laura Robinson, suggesting Furlong physically and verbally abused First Nations students at Burns Lake while teaching at a Catholic school there in the late 1960s.
Furlong has stated that he is innocent and that the allegations against him are false and defamatory. He still faces lawsuits from Grace Jessie West and an unidentified man, both of whom allege they were sexually assaulted by Furlong.
Just over four months ago, Abraham lost her brother and shortly after her cousin and her 16-year-old nephew both died. Then, a month ago, her 91-year-old mother broke her leg and Abraham said she couldn’t deal with the stress of the lawsuit.
She said after speaking with her husband and hereditary chiefs from her First Nation, “it was time to let it go.” She said she stands by her allegations but she is too tired and stressed out to continue.
“A lot of weight came off my shoulders. I felt a hundred times lighter instead of dragging all these problems around,” she said Tuesday morning from her home in Burns Lake. “I just want to give it up to God. I told the truth. That’s all that matters. It hurts me deeply inside when I think of all the people that supported me saying ‘Way to go Bev.’ It seems to me I let them down, but I had to take care of myself too.”
Furlong’s lawyer, Claire Hunter, said in a statement that he has always maintained that all three claims are false.
“The dismissal follows the RCMP’s conclusion following an investigation that, ‘Based on the facts uncovered, the allegations made by Beverly Abraham are not supported.'”
She said Furlong will not comment with respect to the two outstanding claims because they remain before the courts.
Furlong has said previously that the article had “devastating and pulverizing consequences” on him and his family, and that he wished only to take action against “the source of these lies.”
He dropped a lawsuit against the Georgia Straight but is continuing a defamation suit against Robinson. He alleges that Robinson has a “personal vendetta” against him.
Abraham said her case was dismissed by consent without costs to either party. In her claim, Abraham alleged Furlong sexually molested her 12 times when she was 11 years old and attending the school. She also alleged Furlong justified his touching by saying, “You’re my beautiful Indian girl and my protege,” and his “favourite of all the girls.”
Furlong still faces lawsuits from Grace Jessie West and an unidentified man, both of whom allege they were sexually assaulted by Furlong.
None of the allegations has been proven in court.