James story will not go away in Canada

RYAN PYETTE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:36 PM ET

Graham James has been found.

The disgraced former junior hockey coach and convicted sex offender, whose victims included ex-NHLer Sheldon Kennedy plus current allegations from former Stanley Cup and Olympic gold medallist Theoren Fleury, is now living in a one-bedroom apartment in Guadalajara, Mexico.

Im impressed that you found me, James told Bob McKeown of the fifth estate. But not that Ive been hiding.

James looks like an old man now.

His hair is grey. He has lost a lot of weight.

At times during the segment aired Wednesday night on CBCs The National, James pushed a ballcap over his face to shield himself from the cameras and struggled to answer questions.

Fleury enjoyed watching his former tormentor squirm.

At one point, he stuttered and I thought, Holy cow, thats not the same guy I knew, Fleury said by phone. He used to have all the power and I was powerless. But its not like that anymore. He has no power over me. But he still has a pretty big ego. Hed say no comment, and then say something else.

I got a lot out of it. Its another chapter closed.

No matter where he resides, the James story will not go away in Canada.

In April, it was revealed that he obtained a pardon from the National Parole Board in 2007 a decade after he was sent to jail for three-and-a-half years for repeated sexual assaults against Kennedy and another player.

That discovery led the federal government to introduce a new bill that would eliminate pardons to offenders who commit crimes against minors.

There continues to be a criminal investigation in Winnipeg. Four of James former players, including Fleury, have detailed new allegations against their old coach.

I have a lawyer already in Winnipeg so its not like Im running away, the 58-year-old James said of facing potential new charges. Ive been in Mexico long, long before any of this came out.

Given a chance to express remorse or offer an apology for what he had done, James who now goes by his middle name Michael refused the opportunity.

I have nothing to say, he said. I have a job. Im working here. I have laundry to do.

Fleury said it was a relief to know where James was living.

But the best part of the whole thing was seeing (Public Safety Minister) Vic Toews on there talking about what needs to be done (in the justice system), he said. That (bill) is the first step of 1,000 that have to be done.

James responses bothered one of his accusers, who spoke to The Canadian Press under the condition of anonymity.

For a guy who has been in hiding for 10 years, and then for the first time is approached by reporters, he is photographed with a smile on his face, the man said. He didnt run. He didnt put his hands up to cover his face. He smiled and he engaged . . . he is not like the rest of us.

Hes a psychopath.

James claims to be working in Mexico for what is believed to be a Internet marketing firm based in Montreal.

There was no evidence that he is working with youth or is coaching again.

In 2000, James was found coaching teenage hockey players in Spain. Since then, reports also suggested he had lived in Montreal.

James led the Swift Current Broncos to the Memorial Cup title in 1989. He left in 1994 to become the GM and head coach of the expansion Calgary Hitmen.

He resigned during the 1996-97 season. Two years later, the team he originally helped launch qualified for the Memorial Cup tournament and made it to the final game.

This week, the Hitmen will play in the Cup for the second time in team history.


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