Another bible camp sexual offence revealed
Court documents allege other incidents took place at Round Lake Bible Camp
CBC News has learned that a second Thunder Bay-area Bible camp counsellor has been charged with a sex-related crime.
Earlier this year, Thunder Bay police released details of charges against former counsellor Jeff Paxton.
Paxton faces 23 charges of gross indecency, sexual assault and invitation to sexual touching, from incidents stemming more than 20 years ago. The charges were laid in 2012 and 2013. None of the allegations has been proven in court.
Police told the public and the media about the charges in June. At the time, investigators said they had initially believed the incidents were isolated, but they later heard from more victims.
"We are concerned that there may be other victims out there," said Deputy Police Chief Andy Hay. "A lot of crimes of this nature, people are very reluctant to come forward, but once they know that there is a bona fide investigation underway, they feel that there is some support there, and they sometimes will be encouraged to come forward."
Sexual interference 'happened'
After the Paxton case was reported, Mark Arnold, a co-director of the Round Lake Bible Camp contacted CBC News and stated, "Our staff, who are mostly volunteers, are screened through an application process that includes a criminal background check. They are taught and required to adhere to our stringent child protection policy."
Arnold's comment prompted a concerned resident to contact CBC News.
CBC News is referring to him as Rob, which is not his real name. We are withholding his name in order to protect the identity of victims.
Rob told CBC News there had been a case of sexual interference involving another counsellor and a child, after Paxton worked at the camp.
"I know for a fact that an occurrence of sexual interference happened in 1999," he said. "They are well aware that they lied."
Rob said the brother of the camp's other co-director, Christy Arnold, had been convicted of sexual interference.
According to court documents obtained by CBC News, Don Miller was convicted in 2003 for an incident that occurred in 1999. The documents state that Miller "did, for a sexual purpose, touch a person under the age of 14 years directly with a part of his body, to wit: his finger contrary to section 151 of the Criminal Code."
The documents indicate the incidents took place in Hardwick Township, in the Nolalu area. That's the same township where the Round Lake Bible Camp is located.
Miller received a conditional sentence in January of 2003 until September of 2003. He was also on probation until March of 2005. Records indicate this was Miller's first conviction.
'Brought this to their attention'
When contacted by CBC News, Arnold declined to comment.
Rob said he raised red flags about issues of sexual touching in the camp to previous management, but nothing was done to alleviate his concerns.
He said there were issues at Round Lake for years, including allegations from a 6-year-old in 1984, who said Don Miller had been involved in sexual interference.
Rob told CBC News he was made aware of a complaint to Thunder Bay Police in 1997 about issues at the camp, but the investigation did not result in charges.
And it was when he went back to school and became involved in social work that a client told him about a sexual assault, he added. He said he convinced the client to go to police in 2011, which resulted in charges being laid.
Rob said he hopes other victims come forward.
"I know there's more, there's more names, there's more people, there's more, more, more."
"He used the church, he used the camps, he used his position and his authority and he used trust to enter stranger's homes and then befriend these people."
Paxton is currently out on bail. He will appear in provincial court at the end of the month, and in Superior Court at a later date. None of the allegations has been proven in court.