The Lake Babine Nation issued a press release today in Burns Lake regarding allegations made yesterday by the Georgia Straight, a Vancouver weekly newspaper, that John Furlong physically and verbally abused former students of a now closed school in Burns Lake in 1969.
Regarding the allegations, the statement provided today reads, “The Lake Babine Nation is calling on the RCMP to conduct a thorough and timely investigation into allegations concerning John Furlong during his tenure as a teacher in Burns Lake, British Columbia. Lake Babine appreciates what John Furlong has done for British Columbia and Canada through the Vancouver 2010 Games, but at the same time, it strongly believes there are serious longstanding issues from the past that must be addressed.”
The Georgia Straight article reports Furlong as having served as a missionary in Burns Lake at the Immaculata Catholic school which operated from the 1950’s until 1986. Eight former students of the school are reported to have provided sworn affidavits that they were abused by Furlong in his capacity as a physical education supervisor.
These allegations come to light as the town of Burns Lake and the area’s six First Nations work to overcome a difficult year that began with the Babine Forest Products mill explosion in January of this year. Chief Wilf Adam of the Lake Babine Nation said that, “the sooner they get to the bottom of this the better.”
The RCMP had issued a statement yesterday that they are investigating the allegations.