A freelance journalist who alleges former Vancouver Olympics CEO John Furlong publicly portrayed her as unethical, heartless and cruel is set to have her day in court.
Laura Robinson accuses Mr. Furlong of defaming her in public comments after she published an article in 2012 that included allegations from former students that he physically abused them some 40 years ago.
The civil trial in her case is set to begin Monday in B.C. Supreme Court and is expected to last two weeks.
Shortly after the controversial story was published in the Vancouver weekly newspaper Georgia Straight, Mr. Furlong filed a defamation suit against Ms. Robinson and the publication, denying the abuse allegations and accusing her of a vendetta.
He dropped his lawsuit earlier this year after dismissal of the last of three lawsuits against him alleging sexual abuse, telling reporters that "truth and innocence" had prevailed. Mr. Furlong alleged in court documents that Ms. Robinson prompted three complainants to launch the legal actions. Her original article contained no sexual abuse allegations.
But Ms. Robinson pressed forward with her suit, in which she alleged that Mr. Furlong implied in statements to media that she had fabricated the story out of personal animosity.
"The defamatory expression … continues to cause injury, loss and damage to the plaintiff, and was deliberately calculated by (Mr. Furlong) to expose the plaintiff to contempt, ridicule and hatred," she said in court filings.
Ms. Robinson's article contained allegations from students that Mr. Furlong had physically and psychologically abused them while working as a physical education teacher at Immaculata School in Burns Lake, B.C., in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
In documents filed in court, Mr. Furlong says he maintains that Ms. Robinson's techniques were "highly unorthodox, prejudicial and skewed to creating innuendo, journalistic imbalance and errors in fact."
Mr. Furlong says he was entitled to respond to Ms. Robinson's "attacks" and that his public comments were true in substance and fact.
None of the allegations have been tested in court.