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Hockey coach Graham James sentenced to 2 years
Question of the Day
WINNIPEG, MANITOBA (AP) - Disgraced junior hockey coach Graham James was sentenced Tuesday to two years in prison for sexually preying on two of his former players.
The government requested six years in prison. James’s lawyer wanted a conditional sentence of up to 18 months with no jail time.
The 39-year-old Holt called the sentence a “national travesty.”
“We know that childhood abuse has reached epidemic proportions in our country,” he said, reading a statement at a news conference in Cochrane, Alberta. “Graham James is laughing all the way back to the life he has always led, knowing that justice for him is but a blip on the radar.”
Crown attorney Colleen McDuff argued James violated the trust of his players and was a high risk to offend again. Defense lawyer Evan Roitenberg said James had become the most “hated man in hockey” and was punished enough.
It took Carlson almost 1 1/2 hours to outline the reasons for her decision. She indicated that probation alone was not an option and acknowledged the public outrage the case drew.
She said it was clear James had “total control” over the teens he molested because he threatened to end their promising hockey careers if they said anything.
“The nature of the assaults were degrading and humiliating to these teenage boys,” Carlson said.
The judge also pointed out that James expressed remorse, apologized to his victims and has experienced what she called an “extreme degree of humiliation” _ factors that warranted a sentence reduction.
She said James could have fought extradition from Mexico, where he had been living, but voluntarily came back to face the charges. He pleaded guilty and has kept a regular full-time job.
James was wearing a red ski mask that concealed the lower part of his face when he arrived at the courthouse. He avoided eye contact with one of his other victims, former NHL player Sheldon Kennedy, as well as Greg Gilhooly, another player who alleges he was assaulted by the former coach. Gilhooly’s accusations were never dealt with in court.
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