Former junior hockey coach Graham James has been handed a two-year prison sentence for sexually assaulting two of his former teenage players, one of which was ex-NHL star Theoren Fleury.
The ruling, announced today in a Winnipeg court, will be widely criticized as too lenient. The Crown wanted a six-year prison sentence. James’ other victim, Todd Holt, called the ruling “nothing short of a national travesty” in a statement.
James was given a 3.5-year prison sentence (he served 18 months) in 1997 for sexually assaulting two other former players, and Judge Catherine Carlson said the court must consider what he would have received for all four assaults.
“There is no sentence this court can impose that will give back to Mr. Holt and Mr. Fleury that which was taken by Mr James,” Carlson said.
Via the Globe and Mail:
But the judge also pointed out that Mr. James expressed remorse, apologized to his victims and has experienced what she called “an extreme degree of humiliation” — factors that warranted a reduction in his sentence.
She said Mr. James could have fought extradition from Mexico, where he had been living, but voluntarily came back to face the charges. He pleaded guilty and has kept a regular full-time job.