The reporter who wrote a story about alleged abuse by former Vancouver Olympics chief John Furlong says she will counter-sue him for suggesting she didn’t do the proper research.
Laura Robinson said Saturday that Mr. 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, Mr. 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 Ms. Robinson said that starting on Feb. 27, 2011, she sent six to eight e-mails to Douglas and McIntyre, the publisher of Mr. Furlong’s book, Patriot Hearts, which was released after the 2010 Games.
She said a publicist replied to one of her e-mails, saying Mr. 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,” Ms. Robinson said.
She subsequently e-mailed the publicist to ask if Mr. 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 aboriginal students, but was told Mr. Furlong would not answer her questions, Ms. Robinson said.
Ms. Robinson said that in April, 2011, she directly and politely asked Mr. 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 Mr. Furlong physically and mentally abused them, accusations he denies.
Ms. Robinson said she also repeatedly contacted Mr. Furlong’s lawyer, Marvin Starrow, but was told her questions were irrelevant.