Graham James' victims call granting of day parole a 'farce'

Two men, sexually assaulted by former junior hockey coach Graham James, say they are disappointed James will be allowed to return to society under certain conditions.

James' victims Todd Holt and Sheldon Kennedy want former coach to serve more time in prison

Former professional hockey player, Todd Holt, is one of Graham James' victims. Holt says he's "disgusted" James was granted day parole on Monday. (CBC)

Two men, sexually assaulted by former junior hockey coach Graham James, say they are disappointed he was granted day parole from a halfway house under certain conditions.

"Canada needs to wake-up," said Todd Holt, who played with James' team, the Swift Current Broncos, from 1989 to 1994.

"Graham James raped us players," Holt said. "It's a farce … If I was a pedophile out there today I'd be laughing at the justice system."

Holt and Sheldon Kennedy, also assaulted by James, argue the amount of time James has served in prison pales next to the seriousness of his crime.

James is currently serving a seven-year sentence for sexual abuse, in addition to a 3 ½-year term he served in the late-1990s. The man once named "Hockey Man of the Year" has been convicted of molesting a total of six children.

Graham James is currently serving a seven-year sentence. Since the 1990s, James has been convicted for sexually abusing six children.
"I believe enough time is when the system acknowledges and recognizes the impact of this crime," said Kennedy, who now leads the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre in Calgary, AB.

"These crimes of early childhood trauma, child sexual abuse, make up 80 per cent of mental health issues in this country," Kennedy said.

Wrong message to future victims

Both Holt and Kennedy are concerned the seven-year sentence for abuse on multiple children will discourage other victims from coming forward to report crimes.

"Why would they come out and say anything? If they know the guy's just going to be slapped with two years, be out in eight months. It's disgusting," said Holt.

James requested the federal parole board grant him full parole on Monday, but the board found he lacked sufficient empathy and instead limited him to day parole.

According to the Correctional Service of Canada, offenders can be granted day parole to prepare them for full parole or release.

James will be staying at a halfway house and is prohibited from being in the presence of anyone under 18 or having a job where he's in a position of authority over anyone under that age.