Former NHL star and one-time Chicago Blackhawk winger Theoren Fleury has recently come forward revealing that he was sexually abused by a junior hockey coach as a minor. Fluery, who spent time with the Flames, Avalanche, Rangers and Blackhawks penned an autobiography in late 2009 detailing the sexual abuse that he suffered. The alleged abuser, registered Canadien sex offender Graham James, was previously convicted of molesting fellow former NHL player Sheldon Kennedy in 1997. Canadien news interests reported earlier this month that James received a pardon in 2007 relative to that conviction. A Canadien pardon has the effect of restricting access to a criminal record. As such, information related to James’s criminal conviction would be unavailable to any future potential employers, including junior hockey programs.
Fleury detailed the acts of childhood sexual abuse that he suffered in a 2009 autobiography entitled “Playing with Fire.” In that novel, Fleury described how years of sexual abuse left him depressed and suicidal. Fleury also claimed that the sexual abuse he endured lead to adult problems with alcohol, drugs, and gambling. Fleury is now an advocate for sexual abuse victims after the outpour of support that he received following the release of his book. He sees the recent news break regarding the pardon of James as an opportunity for childhood sexual abuse victims advocates to pressure the Canadien government to change their approach to sexual abuse.
Sexual abuse victims are often empowered through exposure. The story of Theo Fleury as an abuse victim is far too common however his ability to overcome the horrors he suffered and strive to protect future victims is inspiring. If you have been the victim of childhood sexual abuse and would like to speak with an attorney, please click here.