VANCOUVER – The reporter who wrote a story about alleged abuse by former Vancouver Olympics chief John Furlong says she will countersue him for suggesting she didn’t do the proper research.
Laura Robinson said Saturday that Furlong intentionally misinformed the public about her professional ethics when he accused her of a shocking lack of diligence and having a vendetta against him.
After the story was published last week, Furlong denied the abuse allegations and said in a statement that his character had been recklessly challenged and that he would be taking legal action.
But Robinson said that starting on Feb. 27, 2011, she sent six to eight emails to Douglas and McIntyre, the publisher of Furlong’s book, “Patriot Hearts,” which was released after the 2010 Games.
She said a publicist replied to one of her emails, saying Furlong was a physical education teacher at a Roman Catholic high school in Prince George, B.C., where he also managed the athletics program.
“That is the only answer I received from Mr. Furlong in a year and a half of asking questions,” Robinson said.
She subsequently emailed the publicist to ask if Furlong had also taught at a Catholic elementary school in Burns Lake from the late 1960s to the early 70s, when he is alleged to have physically and mentally abused First Nations students, but was told Furlong would not answer her questions, Robinson said.
Robinson said that in April 2011, she directly and politely asked Furlong about his time in Burns Lake but that he walked away after screaming at her.
The story in the Vancouver weekly newspaper the Georgia Straight quoted former students who alleged Furlong physically and mentally abused them, accusations he denies.
Robinson said she also repeatedly contacted Furlong’s lawyer, Marvin Storrow, but was told her questions were irrelevant.
Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous story wrongly spelled the name of Furlong’s lawyer