By Duncan Mackay

John Furlong February 2010November 28 - Former Vancouver 2010 President and chief executive John Furlong has launched legal proceedings against the newspaper and reporter who claimed that he abused native students while a volunteer teacher more than 40 years ago, his lawyer has announced.

A notice of civil claim on behalf of the Irish-born Furlong has been filed against Laura Robinson, the Georgia Straight's editor Charlie Smith and publisher Daniel Mcleod and the Vancouver Free Press Publishing Corporation.

The newspaper claimed in an article published two months ago that the Irish-born Furlong was abusive to native students while a volunteer teacher at a school in Burns Lake in 1969 and 1970.

Furlong, praised around the world after the success of the Winter Olympics and Paralympics two years ago, including being awarded the Olympic Order, has denied the allegations.

"On behalf of Mr. John Furlong's legal counsel, we would like to inform you that a notice of civil claim against Laura Robinson, Daniel McLeod, Charlie Smith and Vancouver Free Press Publishing Corp. was filed today in response to the allegations levied against Mr. Furlong in Ms. Robinson's article published in the Georgia Straight on September 27, 2012," said a statement from Furlong's lawyer, Marvin Storrow.

"Now that this matter is before the courts, Mr Furlong and his counsel will not be available for public comment."

Canadian legal experts have predicted that the case could last up to 18 months.

Furlong, who is now the chief executive of Major League Soccer club Vancouver Whitecaps, has claimed that Robinson's article was "humiliating" and "demeaning beyond anything my family and I have ever experienced".

Robinson has claimed that she will countersue Furlong for suggesting she did not do the proper research on the article.

She claims that she asked Furlong in April 2011 about his time in Burns Lake, but that he walked away and shouted at her.

Her article quoted former students who alleged Furlong physically and mentally abused them, accusations he denies.

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