CALGARY, Feb. 4, 2013 /CNW/ - Sheldon Kennedy and Greg Gilhooly, both
victims of Graham James, the hockey coach convicted of hundreds of
sexual assaults, today issued comments strongly supporting the Harper
Government's initiatives to introduce new legislation relating to child
"The Harper Government, led by Minister of Justice Rob Nicholson, is to
be applauded for taking important steps to address issues relating to
those who commit assaults against children, and the victims themselves.
These initiatives can only be seen as positive given the manner in
which they deal with those who prey upon the most vulnerable in our
"Fundamentally, this is about prevention of child sexual abuse. Tougher
sentences signal that child sexual assault will not be tolerated.
Victim support enables victims to come forward more easily and in
greater numbers, which de-stigmatizes those who suffer such abuse. The
more we know, and the more we help, the better the chance we have to
reduce the occurrence of child sexual assault."
"This is not a "lock them up and throw away the key" approach. The
Government is focusing on more appropriate sentencing recognizing the
severe nature of what child sexual assault is, but in a sensible manner
within our existing system built on rehabilitation of the criminal.
Importantly, the Government has also recognized that while we do a
good job of attempting to rehabilitate criminals, we need to address
the rehabilitation of victims given the cost to society as the victims
attempt to deal with the carnage left in the aftermath of their child
"While there remains much more to do regarding child sexual assault,
Minister Nicholson's announcements today represent a big step forward,
and our Government is to be applauded for its focus and efforts in this
area. Our hope is that support for these initiatives will be
non-partisan, as the issues relating to child sexual assault are too
important to be left to party politics."
Graham James served less than half of his five and one half years jail
sentence in respect of hundreds of sexual assaults against Sheldon
Kennedy and another victim whose name is protected by court order. Mr.
James was recently sentenced for a further two and one half years after
pleading guilty without trial to charges in respect to hundreds of
sexual assaults against Theo Fleury and Todd Holt. Charges with respect
to Mr. Gilhooly were stayed in the resolution of those matters. The
Crown has appealed this most recent sentence.
Sheldon Kennedy is Co-Founder of Respect Group Inc. and recipient of an
Honourary Doctorate of Laws Degree from the University of the Fraser
Valley in recognition of his courageous leadership as a victims
Greg Gilhooly, a graduate of Princeton University and the University of
Toronto Faculty of Law, is currently a lawyer in Toronto.
SOURCE: Respect Group Inc.
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