Disgraced hockey coach Graham James eligible to apply for full parole

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WINNIPEG - Disgraced junior hockey coach Graham James is eligible to apply for full parole, but has not yet made a request.

Last March, James was sentenced to two years in jail after pleading guilty to sexually abusing retired NHL star Theo Fleury and his cousin, Todd Holt, when they were teenage players in the Western Hockey League.

James became eligible for day parole in September and for full parole this week, but the National Parole Board says it has not received any applications from him.

The Crown is appealing the two-year sentence in a hearing set for Dec. 3.

The Crown had asked for a six-year term and, in its appeal, says the judge erred by placing too much emphasis on James's previous time behind bars.

James was sentenced to 3 1/2 years in 1997 for molesting former NHLer Sheldon Kennedy and two other players.

He got out of jail in 2000 and dropped out of public view.

If the Crown is not successful in its appeal, James is eligible for statutory release next July.

His lawyer, Evan Roitenberg, has so far offered no comment on why James has not asked for parole.

Roitenberg had asked for a conditional sentence with no jail time. Following his client's sentencing last spring, Roitenberg said James had accepted his fate and had been punished enough.

Organizations: NHL, Western Hockey League, National Parole Board

Geographic location: WINNIPEG

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