Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Former VANOC head denies latest allegations

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VANCOUVER -- Former Vancouver Olympic CEO John Furlong has denied more allegations of abuse levelled by a freelance reporter, saying in court documents Laura Robinson is a journalist who uses "unorthodox and unreliable" investigation techniques to get her stories.

Furlong launched a lawsuit after Robinson wrote a story published in the Georgia Straight last fall accusing him of harming aboriginal students when he taught at a Catholic school in Burns Lake, B.C.

In new court documents filed Friday, Furlong said additional accusations in Robinson's statement of defence that allege Furlong abused his former wife, an unnamed former common-law spouse and students, are defamatory and unfounded.

"The events alleged are said to have occurred in 1969 and the 1970s, but have not been reported in the intervening decades to the plaintiff or to the authorities by any persons involved," the court document said. "This is because they never occurred."

Furlong alleged in his original lawsuit Robinson was waging a personal vendetta against him.

In reply in a statement of defence, Robinson stood by the article she wrote last fall and denied it was defamatory.

Both Robinson and the Georgia Straight newspaper have also claimed in court documents the article is shielded from the lawsuit under the fair comment and responsible communication principle because they believed they made every effort to ensure the allegations were true.

None of the allegations outlined in any of the legal documents have been tested in court.

Robinson's statement of defence also added allegations of abuse that were not included in the article, Furlong noted in his documents filed Friday.

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 27, 2013 A12

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