Today in Winnipeg, former junior hockey coach Graham James pleaded guilty to repeatedly sexually assaulting two of his former players, including ex-NHL star Theoren Fleury.
James reportedly admitted that he repeatedly molested Fleury between September 1, 1983 and August 31, 1985 in both Manitoba and Saskatchewan. He also admitted to repeatedly molesting the other victim, who cannot be named under a publication ban, between May 1, 1989 and April 30, 1994 in Winnipeg.
James was previously imprisoned for three and a half years in 1997 when he pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting another former NHL player, Sheldon Kennedy, and another unnamed player about 350 over the span of 10 years.
Surprisingly, James was pardoned by the National Parole Board in 2007, after which he moved to Mexico. However, when new charges arose in 2010, a warrant was issued for his arrest and he returned to Canada.
After today’s guilty plea, Fleury ripped the Canadian justice system in a statement.
“Graham James pled guilty years ago, and then he was granted a pardon. After he was found in Mexico and brought back to Canada on these charges he was given bail, then plea bargained for 14 months — this is what the mighty Canadian justice system allowed a previously convicted child rapist to do.” – Theoren Fleury, Former NHL Star
Fleury also issued a warning that there is no stopping a monster like James. He believes that James would reoffend again if given the opportunity.
According to the CBC, James will be sentenced on February 22, 2012