Another person files claim against former hockey coach
Published Monday, April 5, 2010 5:04PM MDT
Another person has filed a claim against former hockey coach Graham James, just a day after the man's pardon has become public.
The man was quietly pardoned by the National Parole Board ten years after he pleaded guilty to molesting his young players.
The Canadian Press reported James was pardoned in Jan. 2007 after serving a three-and-a-half-year sentence for sexual assaults on two his players. The news broke after one alleged victim contacted police in Winnipeg.
One of the two players James was convicted of molesting said he was shocked to learn of the pardon. Ex- NHL player Sheldon Kennedy spoke to CTV News about how sex crimes ruin the lives of victims.
"That whole process of Graham being investigated, charged, pleading guilty [and] being pardoned is a matter of 10 years. Yet I see people every day, victims of sex crimes, dealing with this and most of the time it ruins their lives for many, many years," Kennedy told CTV's Canada AM.
"To me it's really a slap in the face for everybody," he added.
The public safety minister called for the need for legislative change to the National Parole Board.
"If you meet the requirements -- you know you've been convicted, you've served the time, you've waited five years -- there's virtually no basis to refuse a pardon," said Public Safety Minister Vic Toews.
A pardon can be applied for, either three or five years after a criminal has completed their sentence, depending on the severity of the crime.
Toews said he's concerned about certain types of sex offenders getting pardons, particularly pedophiles.
"In my opinion and in my experience, pedophiles are not easily cured," he said.
In 1997, James pleaded guilty to sexual assault after two of his former players, including Kennedy, went public with information that he had molested them while he was coaching their Western Hockey League teams between 1984 and 1995.
The former coach maintained his relationship with Kennedy was consensual and that he had done nothing illegal or immoral.
Former Calgary Flames player Theoren Fleury has filed a new complaint with police after publishing his book titled, "Playing With Fire", which includes details of the abuse by his former coach.
Fleury feels the justice system is "flawed" and needs to be changed.
James was coach, general manager and part-owner of the WHL's Calgary Hitmen when he was charged with sexual assault in 1996.
The 58-year-old's current whereabouts are unknown.
With files from Serena Mah and CTV.ca Newsstaff