Convicted sex offender surrenders
WINNIPEG, Manitoba -- Convicted sex offender Graham James surrendered to police Wednesday at Toronto's Pearson International Airport and was whisked to Winnipeg, where the former major junior hockey coach was wanted on nine charges of sexual assault.
"I think there's one less predator on the street and he can't hurt any more kids," said former NHL star Theo Fleury, one of James' accusers.
Police in the Manitoba capital issued a short statement saying James was arrested "through mutual agreement" and remains in custody. They said no additional details will be released.
The warrant, issued this month, listed allegations from three new complainants that date several years. They include Fleury, who has published an autobiography alleging James abused him starting when he was 14 years old. The other two complainants can't be identified because of a publication ban.
"I understand that it does take a while to put an investigation together, put charges together and whatnot, so I'm pleased at this point with the result of what happened today," Fleury said from Toronto. "We'll just keep moving forward and trust in the legal system that we'll get justice."
Fleury said he's prepared to testify if the case goes to trial.
"I'll do whatever it takes from here on in ... to make this come to an ending," he said.
James, who coached the Western Hockey League's Moose Jaw Warriors, Swift Current Broncos and Calgary Hitmen, pleaded guilty in 1997 to hundreds of assaults on two teen players, including former NHL player Sheldon Kennedy, and was sentenced to 3½ years in prison. James was quietly pardoned three years ago, news that caused an uproar when it was revealed by The Canadian Press earlier this year.
Evan Roitenberg, James' lawyer, said Wednesday night that when the warrant was issued, James had resolved to come back to Canada to face the charges, and "that's exactly what he did."
Roitenberg said it was too early to discuss how James would plead.
"I have not seen the Crown's case. I have not seen witness statements," Roitenberg said.
James's last known address was in Guadalajara, Mexico.
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press
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