Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Police act on Fleury's sex-abuse complaint

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police confirmed Friday their sex-crimes unit is investigating a complaint made by former NHL player Theoren Fleury, who alleges he was sexually abused by his junior hockey coach in the 1980s.

Const. Jason Michalyshen said Fleury, former captain of the Calgary Flames, met with investigators recently in Winnipeg.

He did not name the suspect who Fleury said assaulted him. However, Fleury identified his alleged abuser as his former coach Graham James in a recently published book, Playing with Fire: The Highest Highs and Lowest Lows of Theo Fleury.

In January 1997, James was convicted of sexually assaulting Fleury's junior teammate Sheldon Kennedy and an unidentified player and sentenced to three and half years in federal prison.

Included in the allegations Fleury made in the book was that James molested him and Kennedy during a trip they took to Disneyland.

Michalyshen said police do not normally speak about the identity of people who file complaints, but police consulted with Fleury before making the statement. He said local police will be working with agencies outside Manitoba and in the United States.

"Right now, we are actively involved in the investigation and treating this very seriously, like we would any other investigation."

Michalyshen said it is not known if the complaint will lead to charges.

"Theo's done his part," Kennedy said when contacted Thursday. "Kudos to him for having the courage. It's the right thing to do; part of the process in Theo getting his power back.

"Graham should be held accountable for what he's done."

James was last reported living in the Montreal area, after spending time in Spain following his release from prison.

Fleury played 15 years in the NHL with the Flames, Colorado Avalanche, New York Rangers and Chicago Blackhawks.

-- Staff/Canwest News Service

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 16, 2010 A9

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