Former Vancouver Olympics CEO John Furlong has stepped back into the spotlight after months of silence, declaring in an interview that he has been told an RCMP investigation into allegations he sexually abused a student when he was a teacher decades ago has proven his innocence.
But the RCMP says its file remains open. And while the criminal allegation to which Mr. Furlong referred was made by one person, civil lawsuits from the complainant and two other students alleging sexual abuse are ongoing.
In an interview in Toronto with The Globe and Mail on Monday, Mr. Furlong, who was the public face of the 2010 Games, said his lawyer was told last week the RCMP investigation concluded in his favour.
The initial probe, which ended in the spring, looked at allegations Mr. Furlong sexually molested Beverly Abraham when he was a physical education teacher at Immaculata Roman Catholic Elementary School in Burns Lake, B.C., four decades ago.
But RCMP spokesman Sergeant Rob Vermeulen said in an e-mail that due to the serious and sensitive nature of the allegations, the force earlier this year asked for a review of the probe from major-crimes investigators in another province. He said that review yielded investigative recommendations the force is pursuing.
“Our file remains open at this time,” Sgt. Vermeulen said.
Mr. Furlong said the officer in charge of the investigation followed those recommendations and still concluded there was no wrongdoing.
“This is what we’ve been told, that review suggested that the investigation officer do some additional things and he’s done all those things and come to the same conclusions,” Mr. Furlong said. “He told us that after doing those things, there are no changes to his recommendations.”
Sgt. Vermeulen did not answer questions seeking further comment.
Jason Gratl, Ms. Abraham’s lawyer, said the RCMP told his client a couple of weeks ago the investigation into her complaint had concluded.
He said Ms. Abraham was shocked and alarmed, and asked the local constable to interview additional witnesses the force had not contacted. He said she did not hear back from the force after that.
Ms. Abraham and two other plaintiffs, Grace Jessie West and Daniel Morice, allege in their civil suits that Mr. Furlong sexually abused them in Burns Lake. Mr. Furlong is also suing journalist Laura Robinson, who first wrote about the allegations of abuse in the alternative weekly Georgia Straight last year.
Mr. Furlong said he never met the three plaintiffs. Asked about Ms. West and Mr. Morice, he said: “I don’t know who these people are and none of these have ended in complaints at the RCMP. We will fight those civil suits, and I believe it will end up with the same results. Because it did not happen.”
Mr. Furlong said on Monday that he would drop his litigation against the Georgia Straight, but would continue a defamation case against Ms. Robinson. He still criticized the Georgia Straight for publishing the story.
“For 17 months, we’ve lived in this horrible nightmare that just would not go away. This is about taking my life back. … I waited and waited for an opportunity and what gave me the opportunity was the RCMP,” Mr. Furlong said.
In an e-mail Mr. Furlong released on Monday, dated April 12, Corporal Quinton Mackie of the North District Regional General Investigation Section in Prince George wrote to Mr. Furlong’s lawyer, Marvin Storrow.
“I can tell you that the RCMP have concluded their investigation into that matter and have found nothing to substantiate the complaint, as a result, there will be no report to Crown Counsel forwarded,” Corporal Mackie wrote.
Mr. Furlong said he did not make the information public then because the case was being reviewed.