Sexual abuse victim

Sexual abuse victim

Graham James’s victims say former coach got off lightly with 2 years

One of Graham James’s victims is criticizing the justice system over the two-year sentence given to James for sexually abusing former players.

WINNIPEG — A two-year sentence imposed on former hockey coach Graham James for his most-recent sexual assault conviction had both his victims and ordinary citizens questioning Canada’s justice system Tuesday.

Retired Calgary Flames star Theo Fleury, one of two teens James admitted to molesting when they played junior hockey for him, called on Canadians to get tough on sexual predators.

“Children are not safe in this country,” the one-time NHLer said on his Twitter feed after the sentencing.

He urged Canadians to use their votes in the next election to push for change from the government.

“I don’t care who it is as long as the laws change in this country.”

Many Canadians seemed to agree.

“Next election, I am voting for anyone who promises to put child molesters away for life,” tweeted Aaron DeGroot, who bills himself as a Winnipeg Jets fan.

“The only way to change the court system is when we vote — let’s make this an issue in the next election,” Darlene Gibson from British Columbia chimed in on Twitter.

The other victim James admitted abusing was Fleury’s cousin, Todd Holt. At a news conference in Cochrane, Alta., he called the two-year sentence a travesty and warned that there are other predators out there just like Graham James.

“There’s a boy out there dreaming his dreams and hoping his hopes until Graham James crosses his path — and cross his path he will,” Holt read from a statement he jointly crafted with Fleury.

“He preys upon the unsuspecting, all along knowing that not much will happen to stop him. The courts of Canada have guaranteed that … It’s time that the predators know that they need to take notice and be scared.”

Holt and Fleury didn’t attend the sentencing in Winnipeg, but another victim did. Sheldon Kennedy came forward in 1996 and was one of three people James admitted to assaulting. The former coach would spend about 18 months of a 3 1/2-year sentence in prison.

Like Fleury, Kennedy became a prominent player in the NHL. He took a somewhat pragmatic approach to the sentence Tuesday.

“I think you always hope for more, but I think you’ve got to understand what’s going on and try to stay realistic,” he said outside the Winnipeg courthouse.

“We have moved the bar and, even though it’s not what everyone wants to see, we’re moving in the right direction.”

Ottawa lawyer Greg Gilhooly also alleges he was assaulted by James, but the Crown stayed charges related to his case. He also showed up for the sentencing and had harsher words for the law.

“The building here is called the Law Courts Building. It’s not called the Hall of Justice,” he said. “Graham James was never going to get justice today. He was going to get a legal result.”

Gilhooly said it was “unfathomable that a guy like Graham gets two years for what he did.”

There were good things to come out of the case, said a prominent victims’ advocate, even though she agreed with Fleury that tougher sentences are required.

“The problem … is that the bar is set so low in the courts on sentencing of sex offenders,” said Roz Prober, president of Beyond Borders, an advocacy group for sexually abused children.

“We must sentence these offenders in a much more severe fashion.”

Just Posted

Coal mining in Rockies. CP photo
Alberta gov’t releases preliminary results from coal mining survey

The provincial government has released the initial results from its coal policy… Continue reading

House sales drop in northwestern B.C. (THE CANADIAN PRESS Jonathan Hayward)
Central Alberta real estate continues its hot streak

793 residential units sold in central Alberta through April compared with 210 in 2020

A representative for the office of Minister of Justice and Solicitor General Kaycee Madu says the new Red Deer drug treatment court is expected to be operational by the middle of 2022. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Red Deer drug treatment court expected to be up and running no later than mid-2022

The Government of Alberta expects the new Red Deer drug treatment court… Continue reading

Environment Canada says rain Tuesday evening will turn to snow. (File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Severe thunderstorm watch declared for central Alberta

Heavy wet snow could accumlate with the potential for broken tree branches

FILE - In this Thursday, April 29, 2021 file photo, giant bucket-wheel excavators extract coal at the controversial Garzweiler surface coal mine near Jackerath, west Germany. A report by the International Energy Agency on Tuesday, May 18, 2021 says immediate action is needed to reshape the world’s energy sector in order to meet ambitious climate goals by 2050. This includes ending investments in new coal mines, oil and gas wells. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, File)
Energy agency: End new fossil fuel supply investments

IEA report sets out 400 steps to transform how energy is produced, transported and used

Red Deer musician Curtis Phagoo is glad the Alberta government is investing $2 million to help the province’s live music industry, but he would have liked the criteria to be expanded, so the money could be used as relief to cover revenue shortfalls. (Contributed photo by Cory Michaud)
Red Deer musicians welcome $2M in grants to help live music, but would have preferred relief program

The money is for future projects and can’t be used for retroactive expenses

Sheffield United’s Daniel Jebbison celebrates after scoring his side’s opening goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Everton and Sheffield United at Goodison Park in Liverpool, England, Sunday, May 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Alex Pantling/Pool via AP
Canadian teenager Daniel Jebbison turns heads with Premier League goal

Jebbison, 17, is the youngest player in Premier League history to score on his first start in England’s top tier

This image released by Universal Pictures shows Nathalie Emmanuel, left, and Vin Diesel in a scene from “F9.” (Giles Keyte/Universal Pictures via AP)
The blockbuster movie makes a comeback this summer

Last year, summer earnings were $176 million, down 96% from 2019

FILE - In this Feb. 3, 2021, file photo, exile Tibetans use the Olympic Rings as a prop as they hold a street protest against the holding of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, in Dharmsala, India. Groups alleging human-rights abuses in China are calling for a full boycott of the Beijing Olympics, which is sure to ratchet up pressure on the International Olympic Committee, athletes, sponsors, and sports federations. A coalition of activists representing Uyghurs, Tibetans, residents of Hong Kong and others, issued a statement Monday, May 17, 2021 calling for the “full boycott,” eschewing lesser measures like “diplomatic boycotts" and negotiations with the IOC or China. (AP Photo/Ashwini Bhatia, File)
AP Exclusive: Full-blown boycott pushed for Beijing Olympics

AP Exclusive: Full-blown boycott pushed for Beijing Olympics

Canada's Eric Lamaze riding Fine Lady 5 during the CP International competition at the Spruce Meadows Masters in Calgary, Alta., Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019. Canada's most decorated show jumper has withdrawn from consideration for the Tokyo Olympics. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Canadian show jumper Eric Lamaze withdraws from Tokyo short list

Canadian show jumper Eric Lamaze withdraws from Tokyo short list

Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse questions a foul call during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Cleveland Cavaliers Monday, April 26, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. Nurse says it was the COVID-19 outbreak in March that spiked his team's chances for a post-season run.THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Chris O'Meara
Nurse faces a busy off-season, much busier if Canada qualifies for Tokyo Olympics

Nurse faces a busy off-season, much busier if Canada qualifies for Tokyo Olympics

Hockey Hall of Fame inductee Danielle Goyette speaks to reporters during a press conference in Toronto on Friday, November 10, 2017. Goyette has been named director of player development for the NHL's Toronto Maple Leafs and their American Hockey League affiliate. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov
Hayley Wickenheiser, Danielle Goyette together again on Toronto Maple Leafs staff

Hayley Wickenheiser, Danielle Goyette together again on Toronto Maple Leafs staff

Most Read