Current Conditions

Mostly Cloudy
-5.9°C

Disgraced hockey coach, convicted sex offender Graham James seeking full parole

Graham James arrives at court for sentencing in Winnipeg on March 20, 2012. Disgraced junior hockey coach and convicted sex offender Graham James is seeking full parole with the support of his case workers.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods
July 23, 2016 - 4:30 PM

Disgraced junior hockey coach and convicted sex offender Graham James is seeking full parole with the support of his case workers.

James is serving a seven-year sentence for sexually assaulting players he coached in the late 1980s and early '90s with the Swift Current Broncos of the Western Hockey League. He was convicted of sexually assaulting six of his former players hundreds of times during that period.

Documents from the Parole Board of Canada show James's day parole, which was granted in January, has been extended for two months while the board schedules a hearing to consider his request for more freedom.

"You would like to be granted full parole," states the decision dated July 8. "You have rented an apartment where you plan on living on your own. There are no financial concerns. Family members have been deemed to be positive supports.

"Your (case management team) supports your release on full parole."

James, 63, was sentenced to two years in 2012 for abusing former player Todd Holt and his cousin, retired Calgary Flames star Theo Fleury. A Manitoba Appeal Court increased the sentence to five years.

James pleaded guilty in June 2015 to more charges involving a player who described him as his tormentor and his demon. He received a two-year sentence on top of the five years he was serving.

James previously served time after pleading guilty in 1997 to abusing Sheldon Kennedy and two others. James served about 18 months before being paroled. Kennedy played for the Broncos at the time of the assaults and went on to play in the National Hockey League.

The board's decision states James has a job, does volunteer work and has shown insight into the damage he has caused.

"You state in your representations that you were indifferent to the needs of the young victims and you express shame, guilt and remorse over your offending behaviour. You acknowledge having been manipulative, self-centred and inconsiderate," the decision says.

"You state being committed to becoming a better person."

The board cited James's most recent psychological assessment in November 2015 which found he was "a low risk of sexual recidivism."

"Your reintegration potential is assessed as high as well as your motivation," the board report says.

"In meetings, you demonstrate a good understanding of your risk factors and your offence cycle. You acknowledge the consequences for the victims."

Kennedy, the first of James's victims to come forward, is now a strong advocate for sexual abuse victims. He said the board's report shows a lack of understanding about the impact of sexual assault.

"We need to start understanding the true impact of this crime. Until that time, we will keep seeing individuals like Graham James hurting kids," he said. "Eighty per cent of mental-health problems in this country stem from adverse childhood experience such as sexual abuse."

— With files from Bill Graveland in Calgary

News from © The Canadian Press, 2016
The Canadian Press

  • Popular penticton News
  • Comments

View Site in: Desktop | Mobile