Former VANOC CEO John Furlong will not be pursuing his legal case against freelance journalist Laura Robinson after the last sexual abuse claim made against him was thrown out by a B.C. Supreme Court judge.
55-year-old Prince Rupert resident Daniel Morice alleged he was sexually abused by Furlong while attending Immaculata Roman Catholic Elementary School in Burns Lake between 1969 and 1970. At the time, Furlong was working as a volunteer physical education teacher.
However, the judge threw out the case on Monday when Morice failed to show up in court for the trial’s first day. It was also made known in court that Morice was verbally abusive to another judge last week and left vulgar and threatening voice mails to Furlong’s lawyers earlier this year.
The court played Morice’s messages that called Furlong an “old fag” and claimed that there is photographic evidence that he raped a young girl. It was also noted that Morice had a lengthy criminal past – a total of 53 criminal convictions, including theft, fraud and forgery.
Neither Morice nor Grace West, another accuser, attended the school in Burns Lake where the abuse was alleged to have occurred. West’s lawsuit was deemed bogus by another judge in February.
A case filed by Beverly Mary Abraham, the third accuser, was withdrawn in December 2014. “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.
Abraham’s decision to abandon her legal file also comes after the RCMP’s investigation into the matter. Police were unable to find any evidence to support her allegations.
“It is extraordinary and unacceptable that anyone can make ruinous, toxic allegations against a citizen, put them on the public records via the courts, and then abandon them with impunity, seemingly without consequences, and leaving untold damage and pain behind,” Furlong said during a press conference on Tuesday.
Feeling “vindicated” and wanting to move on with his life, Furlong stated he is dropping his own defamation suit against Robinson, who first created the controversy in a 2012 article published in the Georgia Straight that alleged physical and verbal abuse when he was teaching at Burns Lake in the 1960s and 1970s.
Furlong still faces a counter defamation lawsuit by Robinson, who maintains that her reporting were not reckless and irresponsible. A court date is scheduled for June 15.