Graham James, Hockey Coach, Pleads Guilty to Sexual Assault

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By Brent Woodie, Christian Post Contributor
December 8, 2011|10:11 am

In what continues to be an evolving case, former junior hockey coach, Graham James, has pleaded guilty to sexual assault involving two former players.

The current charges stem from allegations put forward by Calgary Flames star Theoren Fleury in his book “Playing With Fire,” in which he describes the abuse he suffered from James.

James appeared by video link before the courtroom Wednesday to give him "guilty" plea for repeatedly sexually abusing two more former players.

James admitted Wednesday to molesting Fleury on numerous occasions while coaching him between 1983 and 1985 in both Manitoba and Saskatchewan. The crimes included ones where Fleury was asleep and escalated both in volume and seriousness, the court was told.

According to AP, the 59-year-old James, who has been out on bail for almost a year and living in Montreal, will appear in Winnipeg in February to be sentenced. Until then, he remains free on bail living in Quebec.

James has already served a 3-and-a-half-year prison sentence for abusing other former players he coached, including former NHL player Sheldon Kennedy.

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In 1996, Sheldon Kennedy and another unnamed player came forward with complaints about sexual abuse they had suffered between 1984 and 1995. James claimed that his relationship with Sheldon Kennedy was consensual and it was not illegal or immoral.

As a result of the complaints, James was charged with sexual assault on November 1996. On Jan. 2, 1997, James pleaded guilty to 350 sexual assaults against the two players, and was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in jail.

He was paroled in 2001.

In Calgary on Wednesday, Fleury warned of the danger James still possesses.

Fleury said: "When he gets out of prison, he will do it again and again and again."

 

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