Former coach Graham James, convicted of sexual assaulting players, granted full parole

Graham James was serving a seven-year sentence for the sexual assaults of players, including Theo Fleury and Todd Holt, while coaching the WHL’s Swift Current Broncos.

Former coach Graham James, who was convicted of sexually assaulting players while working in junior hockey, was granted full parole Thursday morning at a parole board hearing in Laval, Que.

James, 64, was serving a seven-year sentence for sexual assaults that dated back to the 1980s, and had already been granted day parole in January and was living in a halfway house in Montreal. Thursday’s decision came after the National Parole Board ruled in James’ favor, saying he has made “measurable progress” during his time on day parole, according to CBC.

James’ parole comes with several conditions, CBC reported. James will be prohibited from having contact with anyone under 18 or with victims or the families of victims. In addition, he cannot be employed or volunteer anywhere that will allow him to have contact with minors.

James has spent much of the past five years in prison after pleading guilty to the sexual assaults of former players, including Theo Fleury. James also pleaded guilty to the sexual assault of Todd Holt, which dated back to 1989 while James coached the WHL’s Swift Current Broncos.

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Originally, James was sentenced to two years in prison, that was later increased to five years. The additional years were tacked on because it was ruled the two-year sentence had taken into account a previous three and a half year sentence following James’ 1997 conviction for the sexual assaults of Sheldon Kennedy and two other players. Those charges also stemmed from James’ time with the WHL’s Broncos.

Before James’ five-year sentence was up, two more years were added when James pleaded guilty to another charge brought against him by a former Broncos player. 

James had previously sought full parole when his day parole was granted in January, but the parole board ruled against it.

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