Thunder Bay

Accused faces 'historical' sex assault charges

Thunder Bay Police say sexual assault charges laid this week were not the first for a 46-year-old Thunder Bay man.

Thunder Bay Police discover other allegations involving Jeff Paxton, dating back to 1997

Thunder Bay Police say sexual assault charges laid this week were not the first for a 46-year-old Thunder Bay man.

Jeff Paxton faces 10 charges — six of them being laid last year, while the others were laid this year.

Police said Wednesday that Paxton was charged with four counts each of sexual assault and gross indecency, as well as two counts of invitation to sexual touching.

But those 10 charges were based on an investigation that began in 2011, police said. Some of those charges were laid last year and have been working their way through the courts.

Thunder Bay police didn't originally release Paxton's name when charges were laid in 2012.

"It was probably looked at as an isolated incident, and historical. Generally we don’t do media releases on those," said Thunder Bay deputy police Chief Andy Hay.

"But, once the investigation started getting some momentum, we realized we had the possibility of having numerous victims."

More victims come forward

Police have also discovered other allegations involving Paxton, brought to police in 1997. The investigation into those allegations, which was conducted at the time, is currently under review, Hay said.

Paxton was not in custody until Monday's arrest, which came about after more victims came forward and a police investigation ensued.

Jeff Paxton, who has been charged with several counts of sexual assault, reportedly worked as a counsellor at the Round Lake Bible Camp. (Supplied)

Police said Paxton has served as a counsellor at Round Lake Bible Camp, has been involved with Thunder Bay churches, has owned The Great Northwest Coffee Company, and has served as a babysitter.

The directors of the Round Lake Bible Camp where Paxton worked say they have no knowledge of him working or volunteering at the facility.

The co-director of the camp, who said he has operated the summer camp since 1994, said the camp ensures all children are safe.

"Our staff, who are mostly volunteers, are screened through an application process that includes a criminal background check," Mark Arnold said.

"They are taught and required to adhere to our stringent child protection policy."

He noted Paxton worked at the camp before 1994, and added camp has no information about any of the alleged incidents involving Paxton.