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Laura Robinson countersues John Furlong for defamation

Laura Robinson, the journalist who alleged former VANOC boss John Furlong verbally and physically abused students while he was a teacher over 40 years ago, is countersuing John Furlong for defamation.

Robinson is seeking general, aggravated and punitive damages against the former 2010 Olympic boss, and is suing both him and TwentyTen Group, the marketing group that represents him.

“Mr. Furlong and TwentyTen Group have turned a very serious issue – allegations of physical and racial abuse of children made by courageous and vulnerable First Nations people – into a disturbingly vitriolic and untrue campaign against a journalist,” said Robinson in a press release. Robinson set March 30, 2015 as the date to begin a B.C. Supreme Court trial.

Robinson’s article, published in September 2012, quoted several people who claimed to have been verbally and physically abused while Furlong taught physical education at schools in Burns Lake, B.C., and Prince George, B.C., in the late 1960s and early ’70s.

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Furlong denied any wrongdoing and filed a lawsuit against Robinson, condemning her as a reckless activist bent on destroying his career.

The Georgia Straight was originally named as a defendant, but earlier this year Furlong dropped the newspaper from the case and is instead focusing his efforts on Robinson.

Furlong gave Global News the following statement:

“I will continue to defend my reputation and hold Laura Robinson to account for her irresponsible reporting that has deeply hurt me and my family. I welcome the opportunity to meet Laura Robinson in the courtroom to address her irresponsible reporting, which instigated this entire matter.”

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

– With files from Canadian Press

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