Fleury goes to police

ERIC FRANCIS, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 8:10 AM ET

Theo Fleury finally told police what he'd already shared with the world, and because of it Sheldon Kennedy hopes Graham James is going back to jail for a long time.

If they can find him, that is.

Four months after Fleury detailed allegations of sexual abuse at the hands of his junior hockey coach, the 41-year-old told Winnipeg Police of his plight last week, opening an investigation that could take months.

In the meantime, James has had ample time to flee the country, if he so chose to do. After all, the 57-year-old disgraced coach — who served a three-and-a-half year jail sentence for abusing Sheldon Kennedy and another junior player — has done a great job hiding the last handful of years.

He was last seen coaching young hockey players in Spain in 2001 before a furious reaction from Hockey Canada led to him leave the bench.

His was last thought to be in Montreal.

“I think he does need to go to jail again,” said Kennedy Thursday.

“What Graham has done lingers every night and it will always be there. But not just for me — there are many people who were around him that were not physically abused by him but who still carry around a lot of shame in Swift Current and the hockey world. I look at people like my mom — he never did anything to my mom physically but he hurt her a lot with what he did. He did a lot of damage.”

As for whether Fleury’s complaint will lead to additional jail time, Kennedy is optimistic.

“Most importantly, it’s a big, big piece to try to put this puzzle together for Theoren. I’m so glad for Theoren — nothing more than for the fact it’s a really important process for him personally to get his power back. There’s something about when you go through your life and think it’s your fault and you should have done something different and when a court of law says its not your fault. That’s huge.”

Pressured by critics to follow through with the message in his autobiography Playing with Fire — report abuse to authorities — Fleury wasn’t interested in discussing his motives Thursday.

The retired winger-turned-country singer instead issued a statement on his website stating, “I sought out some good advice from my lawyers and advisors on how to go about dealing with Graham James for abusing me when I was a kid. I have been reflecting on this a long time. I wanted to make the biggest impact on preventing this kind of thing from happening in the future.

"I have been under fire by certain members of the press, but I have to handle this matter to best serve the community and my family. I went to the City of Winnipeg Police and filed a complaint last week, and I am now advised their investigation is proceeding. However, no charges have yet been laid.”

The question now is whether any charges that may be laid will come too late, as James may have been well aware of the former Flames captain’s decision to speak out for months on a relationship that predated Fleury’s time with the Moose Jaw Warriors starting in 1984.

“It’s a tough ride but hopefully Theoren will get freedom out of it,” said Kennedy, who has dedicated his life to stopping abuse.

“The journey continues. And I think it’s showing leadership for youth — it shows he’s walking the walk.”

Whether James will walk — or already has — is a much bigger question.


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