The Georgia Straight reports former Vancouver Organizing Committee CEO John Furlong is accused by eight First Nation children of abusing them in the 1970’s when he was a teacher at Immaculata Elementary School in Burns Lake, B.C.
in 1969, as an Oblate Frontier Apostle missionary, Furlong, 18-years-old and 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 at Immaculata.
Cathy Woodgate’s stated in her affidavit. “I was slow and weak. I got hit by a ball, whipped in the calves, yardstick thrown at me—all by John Furlong. I was very shy, very low in self-esteem. I grew up with low self-esteem and decided not to take part in any physical activities because of this nightmare of phys-ed class.”
Later, at age 29, Woodgate was diagnosed with a type of muscular dystrophy.
Students from 1969-70 say Furlong screamed “Lazy Indians!” at them and physically abused them in different ways because, in his mind, they had committed some offence that needed punishment. He did not, they say, see them as children who were afraid of a tall white man who communicated through beatings and screaming in English. He is remembered as a gratuitously violent bully who taunted children, beating them in front of the class if he felt they were too slow, fat, or inattentive.
Richard Perry, another hereditary chief, said in an affidavit that he is convinced he suffered brain damage because of Furlong’s repeated beatings, and he struggles to comprehend what he reads even today.
Read the complete article by Laura Robinson in the Georgia Straight.