Day school survivors allege RCMP discrimination in historical abuse case

John Furlong has repeatedly denied the allegations.

Immaculata was a Roman Catholic residential school in Burns Lake that closed in 1986.

Six Indian residential day school survivors are preparing to testify about systemic racism in the RCMP stemming from an alleged case of historical physical abuse.

On June 29, the group filed a statement of particulars for a Canadian Human Rights Tribunal hearing expected this fall.

They allege the B.C. RCMP discriminated against them during a 2012 investigation into their abuse complaints against former gym teacher and Vancouver Olympics CEO John Furlong.

Furlong, who was a Catholic missionary at the Immaculata Roman Catholic Elementary School in the northern B.C. First Nation of Burns Lake in the late 1960s, has repeatedly denied the allegations to APTN News.

The Prince George RCMP closed their probe without laying any charges in 2013.

John Furlong was a Catholic missionary and CEO of Vancouver Olympics.

The former students then turned to the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC), which announced in June, 2018 it would investigate the way RCMP handled their case.

They are Cathy Woodgate, Richard Perry, Dorothy Williams, Ann Tom, Maurice Joseph and Emma Williams.

After a year-long investigation, the CHRC asked the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal to hold a public hearing – possibly this fall or winter.

In their statement of particulars, the survivors claim they received “adverse differential treatment and denial of access to police services based on race and national or ethnic origin contrary to Section 5 of the Canadian Human Rights Act.”

Their statement says that “this case describes at least two ways in which the RCMP’s investigative methods are discriminatory…

“First their traditional investigative methods fail to meet the needs of Indigenous victims…and are executed with biased attitudes,” it claims.

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“Second, the RCMP failed in their obligation to modify their traditional practices to meet Indigenous people’s cultural needs, an obligation arising from the known distrust of the RCMP by Indigenous people.”

The RCMP is expected to file its statement of particulars to the tribunal in August.  It did not respond to a request for comment from APTN Monday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Investigative Reporter / Winnipeg

Award-winning reporter Kathleen Martens covers western and northern Canada for aptnnews.ca. A veteran of the Brandon Sun, Sun Media and APTN Investigates, she is based in APTN’s head office, specializing in stories about property, women’s rights and community.