B.C. man guilty of 1970s sex assaults already out of jail

A British Columbia man who plead guilty last week to decades-old sexual assaults at a rural Hamilton group home is already out of prison. Police believe other victims may yet come forward.
The Way-J Boys Ranch of Copetown was a group home for foster children in the late 60s to early 70s. (Courtesy Hamilton Police)

A British Columbia man who last week pleaded guilty to a decades-old sexual assault in Ancaster is already out of prison.

Howard Wayne Jones, 68, was arrested in August of 2011 in Salmon Arm B.C. by the RCMP, who were acting on a Canada-wide warrant issued in Hamilton and brought to the city for trial.

Police say he was arrested in connection with assaults that happened from 1969 to 1972 at a property on Powerline Road in Ancaster. Back then, the property was known as the Way-J Boys Ranch of Copetown, and was a group home for foster children.

He was a predator who constructed his whole life around gaining access to 12-year-old boys.- Det. Dave Oleniuk, Hamilton Police

“He was the operator,” said Det. Dave Oleniuk of Hamilton police. “He set up the foster home and took in kids from various agencies.”

Jones also worked as a lifeguard and was involved in other youth organizations in the Hamilton area around that time, Oleniuk says.

“He was a predator who constructed his whole life around gaining access to 12-year-old boys,” he said.

On Friday, Jones pleaded guilty to two counts of indecent assault, which sexual assault was called in the criminal code at the time the offences happened. He had been in custody since his arrest and was sentenced to time served – the equivalent of 40 months in jail.

Now he’s out of jail – though he will remain on the sex offender registry for 20 years and was required to provide a DNA sample to police.

Oleniuk says he isn’t exactly sure of Jones’ whereabouts, but he “expects he was going back to B.C.”

Police believe there are several more victims, Oleniuk says. He’s received hesitant phone messages from people describing details of other alleged assaults, but not leaving their names. When the numbers were traced, they led back to a pay phone, he said.

The family of a dead man also came forward with information after the charges against Jones were first announced, but no formal charges were filed because the man had passed away.

“There is no doubt in my mind that there are more victims,” Oleniuk said, adding that if Jones were to be convicted on subsequent sex assault charges, he would be jailed again.

“That’s why I really suggest anyone who has information to come forward,” he said.

Anyone with information is asked to call police at 905-540-5553.


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