Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Allegations of Rape, Abuse Hit Furlong Family 'Like a Wrecking Ball'

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Allegations of Rape, Abuse Hit Furlong Family 'Like a Wrecking Ball'

Article excerpt

Furlong family calls allegations 'obscene'

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VANCOUVER - Family members of former Vancouver Olympic CEO John Furlong -- including his ex-wife -- have condemned new allegations against him of domestic and sexual abuse.

The family issued a statement Wednesday decrying the latest allegations made by reporter Laura Robinson, who is being sued by Furlong over an article she wrote about his time as a teacher at two Catholic schools in northern B.C.

A statement of defence filed by Robinson this week includes new claims alleging Furlong physically abused his former spouse and sexually assaulted a common-law partner.

"These shocking allegations are without merit and portray a character whom none of us recognizes," said the statement from Furlong's children, Maria, Johnnie, Damien, Emma, Molly, their mother Margaret, and their stepmother Gail, along with Furlong's 11 grandchildren.

"We are being subjected to shame and embarrassment by misuse of journalistic privilege and license."

The family said they felt compelled to speak out about the "serious, unsubstantiated" allegations contained in the court documents filed on Monday.

In them, Robinson said she was contacted after the original article was published last fall by a former neighbour of John and Margaret Furlong when they lived in Prince George, B.C., from 1970 to 1972.

The statement said "the plaintiff physically and psychologically assaulted and abused his wife." She cites four specific incidents allegedly committed against Margaret Furlong, including several loud arguments overheard by other residents.

"The plaintiff and his wife argued regularly and, as the arguments escalated, the student residents could hear the plaintiff slap and hit his wife, who could be heard crying apologetically," said the document.

"On one occasion, the plaintiff grabbed his wife's arm, twisted it tightly, and pushed her into their living quarters. …

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