Winnipeg police have confirmed something that was widely known — detectives are investigating a sexual assault allegation against Graham James, a pardoned sex offender and former junior hockey coach.
On Thursday, police publicly acknowledged the focus of the investigation for the first time.
This comes after a report on CBC’s The National about James’ current whereabouts, which were a mystery for some time.
The report revealed James, 58, is working and living in Guadalajara, Mexico.
Previously, police confirmed detectives in the sex crimes unit are investigating a complaint made by former NHLer Theoren Fleury but wouldn’t reveal the name of the accused.
The person’s identity wasn’t a mystery because Fleury identified James as his alleged abuser in his autobiography last fall.
James has not been charged. The investigation is ongoing.
Four of James’ former players, including Fleury, have detailed new allegations against their old coach, according to a QMI Agency report.
“We are aware of police investigations being conducted in other jurisdictions and we are actively working to co-ordinate investigative efforts,” the city’s police service said in a brief statement.
Evan Roitenberg, James’ lawyer, said his client will co-operate with police.
“Once the police have concluded their investigation or wish to speak to Mr. James, I’m sure they will be in touch with me,” Roitenberg said.
James was sentenced to 3 ˝ years in prison for repeated sexual assaults against former NHL player Sheldon Kennedy and a second man, whose identity is protected by the courts, while he was their junior hockey coach.
Earlier this year, it was revealed James obtained a pardon from the National Parole Board, sparking public outrage and proposed changes to Canada’s pardon system.