Graham James' victims welcome extended sentence
"A huge step in the right direction".
That's how ex NHL star Theo Fleury feels about a new, longer sentence for admitted child molester Graham James.
The Manitoba Court of Appeal took the unusual step Friday of extending James' sentence from 2 years to 5.
James plead guilty last year to sexually assaulting Fleury & his cousin Todd Holt when they were boys.
Fleury admits to having mixed emotions at the news, but says it's a great day for all people who advocate for the safety of children.
Sheldon Kennedy, also a former NHLer & a James victim, appreciates how rare it is for appeal courts to change sentences. The appeal panel in James' case found the trial judge had given him too much credit for the time he served for other sex assault convictions.
Kennedy says looking at all the aspects of the case, 5 years is a "good sentence".
But Theo Fleury wants more time behind bars for people convicted of sexually assaulting kids. Fleury is pushing for sentences in the 6-15-year range. He says that will allow pedophiles & child molesters time to get the healing they need so they don't re-offend. He says people like James though, someone he considers to be a psychopath, can't be helped. He says they should be locked up, the key thrown away.
Kennedy says while sticking someone in jail for 100 years might feel good, the focus needs to be on helping victims so they don't become abusers themselves.
Can Theo Fleury ever forgive Graham James? Fleury says "he's getting there" & "moving closer every day". He says what keeps him going is the people who tell him they've taken inspiration from his story. Fleury is convinced now that speaking up for victims of abuse is the reason he was put on earth.