Arrest warrant to be issued today for Graham James
MICHAEL WOOD, QMI Agency
|Warrants for the arrest of former hockey coach and convicted sex-offender Graham James are to be issued Wednesday. (QMI Agency file photo)
Winnipeg police are expected Wednesday to issue a Canada-wide warrant for shamed hockey coach Graham James, based in part on allegations from Theo Fleury.
The revelation was confirmed by both Fleury and Sheldon Kennedy Tuesday night.
"I'm grateful to the Winnipeg police for responding to my complaint. I know it took a while, but these things have to be done right," Fleury said in a statement.
"It was an open chapter in my life that is closed, and now we are nearing the end of this part of the story."
It is unclear what charges the convicted sex offender will face, although, in a press release, Fleury revealed they stem from more than just his allegations and expressed sympathy to "other victims" who came forward to file their own complaints.
"I just hope the other guys who stepped up will be surrounded with love and support from their friends and family like I was. It took a lot of strength for them to be willing to publicly admit they were abused and it's important they are not victimized again," he said.
"I want them to know they are not alone."
The new charges come almost a year to the day after Fleury first revealed explosive tales of sexual abuse at the hands of James, then his junior hockey coach, in his tell-all book Playing With Fire.
Fleury brought forth those allegations to Winnipeg police in January.
In April, QMI Agency revealed men in Calgary and Manitoba had approached police as well with complaints about James, and a former Hitmen player was considering contacting cops as well.
Fleury was the second player to go public with a tale of torment at the hands of James, following in the footsteps of Sheldon Kennedy.
Kennedy and another as-yet unnamed player stepped forward in 1996. James pleaded guilty and in 1997 was sentenced to three and a half years in jail.
He was later pardoned.
Kennedy, meanwhile, was notified by investigators early Tuesday and applauded their efforts.
"The reality is investigations take time. I look at my investigation and it took almost a year," Kennedy told QMI Agency.
James, meanwhile, was last spotted living and working in Mexico.
Canadian news outlets tracked him down to a one-bedroom apartment in Guadalajara.
James' lawyer Evan Roitenberg would not confirm his client's whereabouts or if he has been in contact with James when reached for comment Wednesday morning.
"I can't comment on anything right now or on the accuracy that a warrant has been issued," Roitenberg said.