Thursday, May 13, 2010
Graham James named as suspect in Winnipeg sex abuse probe
WINNIPEG — For the first time, police in Winnipeg have named disgraced former junior hockey coach Graham James as a suspect in their investigation of a sexual-assault complaint made by former Calgary Flames captain Theoren Fleury.
Responding to a new report confirming James, a sex offender who received a pardon, is living in Mexico, the Winnipeg Police Service named him as the focus of their investigation Thursday morning.
James’ Winnipeg-based lawyer said Thursday his client isn’t hiding from police.
"Mr. James is not running from anything," said Evan Roitenberg.
He said he did not want to comment extensively because he didn’t want it to be perceived as "interference" in the police investigation.
"He’s not fleeing from anything and he isn’t there hiding," he said.
James was sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison in 1997 after he pleaded guilty to assaulting former NHL player Sheldon Kennedy and another unnamed player about 350 times over 10 years.
Confronted recently in Guadalajara, where he reportedly works for a Montreal-based Internet company, James politely declined to answer the reporter’s questions and would only say he was living in Mexico "long before" Fleury made his allegations of abuse last year.