Earlier today, Vancouver free weekly The Georgia Straight published allegations that VANOC CEO, Chairperson of Own the Podium and Executive Chair of the Vancouver Whitecaps John Furlong (O.C., O.B.C.), misreported details in his recent autobiography Patriot Hearts of his original entry into Canada. Specifically, Furlong did not enter Canada in 1974, but in 1969 as an Oblate Frontier Apostle missionary.
He went not to Prince George to direct a high-school athletic program but to Immaculata Elementary School in Burns Lake, B.C., to help save the souls of First Nations children. It was here that 18-year-old Furlong, fresh out of Dublin’s St. Vincent’s Christian Brothers Secondary School, with no formal training as a teacher and no university behind him, ran physical-education classes.
The Straight article, written by Laura Robinson and supported by eight sworn affadavits, alleges sustained and multiple cases of physical, psychological and, possibly, sexual abuse.
[Beverley] Abraham closes her eyes and fights tears. She says Furlong regularly made the same four girls—her and three friends—stay behind after phys-ed class, one at a time. The three friends were the ones who started drinking with Abraham. She says the three committed suicide in later years. “Every time I started phys-ed, I was honestly always afraid. He stood by the change-room door. [A nun] would say, ‘Okay, girls, come on.’ We were just afraid to go. He really degraded our name and our inner self. No wonder they call us drunks. Why did we drink so hard? Immaculata School.”