Bruce Dowbiggin at the Globe & Mail is reporting that later today, an investigative report by that paper in conjunction with the CBC will feature a short interview with Graham James, the disgraced junior hockey coach whose conviction on sexual abuse charges rocked the hockey world over 10 years ago.
Last year, retired NHL star Theo Fleury detailed James' abuse of he & Kennedy in his book Playing With Fire (I just read it recently, and it offers useful insight into what that type of abuse does to someone). Just last month, the news that James had been pardoned for his 1997 conviction for abusing former NHL player Sheldon Kennedy brought calls for reform of Canada's pardoning guidelines. James has been out of the public eye for years, until today.
Bob McKeown of the CBC led the interview. This excerpt from Dowbiggin...
McKeown says they asked the questions on the mind of Canadians - about Fleury, the pardon, and what he's doing now. McKeown will not reveal more details until the CBC and globeandmail.com run a story later this afternoon, but he says James claims not to be in hiding and that he holds a job. "He's not a threatening person... I got the impression he was either bending over backward to be polite or he was lonely. He didn't want to say goodbye."
While James might make for a sympathetic figure to some, trying to get a fresh start in new surroundings, there is little reason to believe that he is truly remorseful for his crimes. Take this quote from an Eric Francis article in the Calgary Sun last year:
Shortly after being sentenced in early 1997, James called the Sun with hopes the paper would slam Don Cherry for suggesting on Coach's Corner James be "drawn and quartered" for what he did to innocent teens. When asked if there were more victims, James, now 55 and believed to be living in Montreal, intimated he "loved many people" -- a chilling response suggesting several other players had been abused.
The question going forward is whether fresh criminal charges from Fleury's allegations will press forward. Is James in a location with an extradition agreement with Canada? Might James be made to answer for what he's done beyond the abuse to Sheldon Kennedy?
We'll find out more later today, so keep an eye out this afternoon for that report.
UPDATE: James has been found in Guadalajara, Mexico. The concern is that, far away from Canada, he may revert to his old ways. This, from this afternoon's update at the Globe & Mail:
The last time he publicly surfaced was shortly after his release from prison in 2000, when the media discovered he was coaching teenage hockey players in Spain.
I think it's safe to say that nobody wants to see James involved in such a capacity ever again.