July 24, 2013 9:38 pm

Two former students of John Furlong file lawsuits alleging sexual abuse

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Two Burns Lake women are suing former VANOC CEO John Furlong for physical abuse, sexual touching and defamation.

Beverly Mary Abraham is alleging she was 11-years old when Furlong sexually molested her 12 times from November of 1969 to May of 1970.

The court documents state Abraham attended Immaculata Roman Catholic Elementary school in Burns Lake in 1969 and 1971.

Furlong was a teacher at the school in 1969 and 1970.

Abraham claims inappropriate touching occurred during school hours in the school gym.

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She claims Furlong emotionally and psychologically manipulated her by telling her that his actions were not wrong.

Abraham is suing Furlong along with the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver, Roman Catholic Prince George Diocese and Catholic Independent Schools Diocese of Prince George.

She claims these institutions were aware of Furlong’s actions towards her and other children enrolled in the school.

Abraham says they failed to stop Furlong from sexually and physically abusing her even though they knew he was “a risk to children under his control.”

Abraham claims the abuse suffered at the hands of Furlong violated her sexual integrity, and caused her to suffer health and psychological problems.

The story first came to light when the Georgia Straight newspaper published an article alleging Furlong had verbally and physically mistreated Native students while he was a teacher at a Catholic school in Burns Lake in the late 1960s.

Furlong has vehemently denied the accusations.

Abraham says she was intimidated by the defendants and was unaware she could launch legal action against Furlong.

She decided to seek legal advice after Furlong’s comments last year.

Court documents state during a press conference in September of 2012, Furlong stated that people who had alleged sexual or physical abuse against him at Immaculata Elementary were liars.

Raw: Press Conference

Abraham says those words were false and defamatory, damaging her reputation and deepening her emotional injuries.

Meanwhile, another Immaculata Roman Catholic Elementary school student Grace Jessie West is also suing Furlong.

West says Furlong kicked her in the buttocks, legs and back almost every day of the school.

She also claims Furlong touched her sexually in the changing room after gym class.

West claims Catholic Independent Schools Diocese of Prince George, the Archdiocese and the Diocese were aware of Furlong’s actions, but did nothing about it.

West had to switch schools because of the abuse suffered, and claims to have had her sexual integrity violated. She also suffered health and psychological problems as the result.

Like Abraham, West is also suing Furlong for defamation following his comments at the 2012 press conference.

None of the allegations against Furlong have been proven in court.

At press time, John Furlong’s legal council has not responded to the claims made in the lawsuits.

Watch: Shocking allegations

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