The man who led Vancouver to successfully hosting the 2010 Winter Olympics has come under fire by one of the city's publications.
An article in The Georgia Straight alleges that John Furlong physically and mentally abused native children while teaching Phys. Ed. at an elementary school in Burns Lake, B.C. dating back to 1969.
Furlong, who's now an executive with the Vancouver Whitecaps, held a news conference on Thursday to vehemently deny it.
"As you are aware, I have been accused today in this article of physical abuse, and apparently within the last hour, of sexual abuse," he said. "I want you to know that I categorically deny absolutely any wrongdoing, and I believe that the RCMP, in looking into this matter, will discredit the complaint entirely, because it just didn't happen.
"Given my background and experiences working side-by-side with First Nations leaders and communities, it was very troubling to read the recent article, as it deals with very serious unfounded allegations that are completely without merit.
"Because of the gravity of the situation, I encourage the police to continue to investigate the allegations and especially, how they were arrived at.
"Further, I am very disappointed, in spite of numerous written cautions, by the reporter's shocking lack of diligence in researching the article. As a result of inaccurate reporting, I feel that my character has been recklessly challenged, and I have no choice now but to proceed with legal action.
"It is also beyond all belief that the Georgia Straight newspaper did not place a single call to me to validate any of the elements of this story. Advancing this after more than 40 years, particularly after I have been in the public eye constantly for the past 14 years, is beyond me.
"Having experienced this reporter on many occasions in the past, this feels very much like a personal vendetta.
"And finally let me just say, on the very first occasion that this was brought to my attention, prior to the Olympic Games, I was advised that for a payment, it could be made to go away. And as such I reported the matter to the police."
Furlong, 61, has been Executive Chair of the Vancouver Whitecaps FC since April.
He was the President and Chief Executive Officer of VANOC, which oversaw the preparation and execution of the 2010 Winter Olympics and 2010 Winter Paralympics Games.