July 3, 2018 7:24 pm
Updated: July 5, 2018 1:43 pm

Former NHLer Theo Fleury wants to sit down with abuser Graham James for documentary

WATCH: Former Calgary Flames star Theo Fleury is hoping to sit down face-to-face with his abuser: his former coach, Graham James. Fleury told Global News he would be meeting with the convicted pedophile as a part of a documentary project. Nancy Hixt reports.


Former Calgary Flames star Theo Fleury is hoping to sit down face-to-face with his abuser, convicted sex offender Graham James.

Fleury told Global News the idea came up during planning for a documentary he’s currently in the process of filming.

“We thought, ‘Geez, it would be kind of neat to do a one-on-one,’” Fleury said Tuesday.

The proposal is one step closer to happening following a decision by the Parole Board of Canada.

According to documents obtained by Global News, the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) recommended James’ condition restricting contact with victims and members of their families be changed “in order to potentially be participating in [the] restorative justice program.”

Graham James holds his award in Toronto, June 8, 1989 after being named The Hockey News man of the year.


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The board said after reviewing his file, members agreed there should be a change so James could participate “in the event that the victims would like to take part.”

James’ parole condition is now amended to read: “The Board forbids you to have any direct or indirect contact with the victims and the members of their families, unless deemed appropriate and facilitated by CSC’s Restorative Opportunities Program.”

The board noted James’ risk is assessed as “low.”

READ MORE: Graham James’ case workers support disgraced hockey coach’s full parole request

The board did add a caution in the decision to James: “You have to understand that your victims have the right to a peaceful life without any stress of attempts on your part to contact them.”

The 64-year-old has been out on full parole since September 2016, just months into his seven-year prison sentence for three counts of sexual assault.

James was a hockey coach and scout and victimized players and potential players he was recruiting. One of those players was Fleury.

LISTEN: Theo Fleury explains why he’d sit down with Graham James

Fleury said he wants to make history with his documentary–and that would include meeting with James.

“If he’s willing to educate us, if he’s willing to tell us exactly what pedophiles look for–that would be the type of questioning that would happen,” Fleury said.

“The fact that I can be in the same room as my abuser says a lot,” Fleury said of his own journey.

“I’m not a victim anymore.”

“I don’t believe in punishment; I only believe in rehabilitation.” 

Fleury said he doesn’t want to talk about his feelings when it comes to a meeting with James.

“It’s not about that,” he said. “Even though what Graham did to me was horrible, in order for me to have serenity and peace in my life, I have to have compassion for all.”

He said he’s already spent hours inside of a prison with convicted offenders as a part of the documentary.

If James agrees to restorative justice with Fleury, he said he will try to have as many media outlets present as possible.

“It would be historical,” Fleury said, who hasn’t spoken face-to-face with James since 1996.

He said his documentary will not likely be finished for another year or two.

READ MORE: A timeline of Graham James’s legal history

Former NHLer Sheldon Kennedy was the first victim of James to come forward. He was sexually abused as a teenager when he was playing for the Swift Current Broncos.

James’ was given his first federal sentence in 1997 after pleading guilty to sexually assaulting Kennedy and two other boys.

WATCH MORE: Sheldon Kennedy a crusader for victims of sexual abuse

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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