Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Updated: May 13, 9:40 AM ET
Pardoned James working in Mexico
ESPN.com news services
Pardoned sex predator Graham James was tracked down by the Canadian media Wednesday in Guadalajara, Mexico, where he is working for a Montreal-based company.
James, a former high-profile junior hockey coach in Canada, pleaded guilty in 1997 to sexual assault charges stemming from allegations brought forward by two of his former teenaged players, including former NHL player Sheldon Kennedy. Former NHL star Theo Fleury also came forward late last year with similar sexual abuse allegations involving James. While those claims have not yet involved criminal charges, they are under investigation by police in Winnipeg.
James -- whose sex abuse story rocked the hockey world in the 1990s -- was in the spotlight again after he was discovered in a CBC/Globe and Mail joint report.
"I'm impressed that you found me ... not that I've been hiding,'' James said when found by CBC on a city street.
He turned down an interview request when approached -- "not a chance," he said -- and told the CBC reporter to talk to his Winnipeg-based lawyer.
"The Winnipeg police are conducting an investigation, and when they reach a point in time that they wish to speak to my client, I'm sure they will be in contact with me,'' Evan Roitenberg, the lawyer representing James, told The Canadian Press. "He's not on the run from anything. He's just working.''
On his official website, Fleury released the following statement in reaction to the CBC report: "I haven't seen Graham in 14 years and yet today, I was still full of anxiety. To be honest with you, it was kind of nice to see to him squirm. Thankfully, I have a new set of tools now and I can deal with this. My number one concern is not for myself, but for other victims still struggling to come to terms and find peace. I hope now that's now that he's been found, justice can be served."
James was sentenced to 3½ years in prison and was pardoned three years ago. The pardon, however, wasn't disclosed until a report by The Canadian Press last month. According to the CBC report, Mexico doesn't have a registry for sex offenders, so there was no way for Mexican officials to know of James' past criminal acts.