Judge throws out John Furlong sexual assault case

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John Furlong via Shutterstock

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Miriam Gropper has thrown out a sexual assault case against former VANOC CEO John Furlong.

Earlier this week, the judge ruled that the claims submitted by Grace Jessie West were bogus as school records indicated she never attended Immaculata Roman Catholic Elementary School in Burns Lake, B.C., where Furlong volunteered as a physical education teacher, and that she actually attended St. Joseph’s School.

In addition to the false claim, in a court testimony West was unable to stick to the same story and name the school she attended where she alleges the abuse occurred.

“On the basis of that evidence and there being no evidence to the contrary, I must find that Ms. West did not attend Immaculata in 1969 to 1970,” Justice Gropper wrote in a ruling.

Furlong’s lawyers are also aiming to have a second sexual assault lawsuit dismissed. Court documents indicate this man, who has not been identified to the public, also did not attend the school and might have been living in a different municipality.

In December 2014, Beverly Mary Abraham dropped her case against Furlong because the lawsuit was giving her too much stress. “The reason for it is that it was kind of stressing me out… I’ve been thinking about it for months,” she told the CBC. Her decision to abandon her legal file also comes after the RCMP’s investigation into the matter: police were not able to find any evidence to support her allegations.

Vancouver lawyer Jason Gratl told the National Post he longer represents West, Abraham and the unidentified man. “Professional obligations” prevent him from explaining why, he says.

A total of three sexual assault cases were hurled at John Furlong, and Abraham’s allegations were the basis of a September 2012 story written by freelance author Laura Robinson and published by the Georgia Straight. Furlong has denied all allegations and any wrongdoing, saying the allegations have had an “incalculable” damage to his reputation. He sued both the weekly paper and Robinson for defamation and damages.

Since then, the lawsuit against the the Georgia Straight has been dropped, but the legal pursuit against Robinson continues.

 

Feature Image: John Furlong via Shutterstock

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