Indigenous

Accused pedophile awaiting extradition faced trial in 1994 in Sioux Lookout

When Jack Wicksey worked as a house counsellor at a Sioux Lookout, Ont., boarding home for First Nations students he allegedly drugged and raped one male youth, preyed on another who had just lost his mother and often lured boys with promises of innocent massages, according to documents filed with U.S. Federal Court.

Jack Wicksey, 65, was living with his 84-year-old wife in a southern Texas trailer park

Jack Wicksey on his wedding day in December 2015. He married an 84-year-old woman and was living in a trailer park in Los Fresnos, Texas, at the time of his arrest. (Facebook)

When Jack Wicksey worked as a house counsellor at a Sioux Lookout, Ont., boarding home for First Nations students he allegedly drugged and raped one male youth, preyed on another who had just lost his mother and often lured boys with promises of innocent massages, according to documents filed with U.S. Federal Court.

Wicksey is now in custody in southern Texas awaiting extradition to Canada where he is expected to face 18 sexual assault-related charges stemming from his time working at the Pelican Falls Centre in Sioux Lookout from 1989 to 1991.

The Pelican Falls Centre provides boarding for youth from northern Ontario First Nations attending high school in Sioux Lookout.

Wicksey previously went to trial in 1994 in Ontario on two sexual assault-related charges from his time at the centre, but the proceedings were stayed for "unknown reasons," according to the documents. The alleged victim "subsequently committed suicide."  

"Jack Wicksey is alleged to be a predatory pedophile and actively used his position of authority as a house counsellor in the Pelican Falls boarding home to victimize First Nations boys residing there," said an OPP affidavit filed with the U.S. Federal Court.

None of the allegations against Wicksey have been proven in court.

Wicksey, 65, was living in a trailer park in Los Fresnos, Texas, which sits about 560 km south of Houston, when he was arrested by U.S. Marshals on June 6.

Wicksey, a Canadian citizen, was in Los Fresnos on a conditional green card with an 84-year-old U.S. woman whom he married in December 2015, according to the court records.

U.S. Federal Court Judge Ronald Morgan ruled Wicksey could be extradited to Canada on June 12. A final order from the U.S. Secretary of State is still needed to send Wicksey back to Canada, according to the judgment.

Brownsville Herald reporter Mark Reagan told CBC News Wicksey's wife attended the court hearing in a wheelchair.

Wicksey's lawyer Edmund Cyganiewicz did not respond to a request for comment.

Investigation began in 2015

The Ontario Provincial Police investigation into the historical case began May 7, 2015, after a conversation between one of Wicksey's alleged victims and an officer at the Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug First Nation police detachment, according to the affidavit from OPP Const. Amanda Maure, filed in U.S. Federal Court.

The victim disclosed to the officer he had been allegedly raped by Wicksey in 1991, a week before March break, according to the affidavit.

During a videotaped interview, the victim alleged that he was alone in Wicksey's bedroom in the late evening when he was given a grey and brown capsule which made him drowsy. Wicksey then allegedly began to molest the teen.

"He was unable to tell Jack Wicksey to stop because of the capsule he had been given," said the affidavit.    

He was then allegedly raped and woke up with backside pain and Wicksey lying next to him.

The victim told the OPP he saw "several incidents of male youths running away from Jack Wicksey or coming out of his bedroom in the morning," according to the affidavit.

The teen never returned to school after the incident.

Six others come forward

The OPP launched an investigation and found six more alleged victims.

One told the OPP he was reeling from the shock of a phone call about his mother's death from cancer when Wicksey allegedly targeted and sexually assaulted him.

When the teen resisted the aggressive fondling, Wicksey allegedly "threatened" him by warning "your high school days are over" if he told anyone.

Other victims described alleged sexual assaults in Wicksey's car, in the basement of the centre, in the gymnasium and in bedrooms, according to the affidavit.

"[One victim] witnessed Jack Wicksey wrestling often with students and described it as chasing, playing tag, spanking them and grabbing crotches," said the affidavit.

"[The victim] was touched by Wicksey on a daily basis…. At times Wicksey would grab multiple boys in the same room."

Wicksey was living with his then-wife at the centre during the time of the alleged assaults. They divorced in 1997, according to the affidavit.

Wicksey faces nine counts of sexual assault on a person under 16 and nine counts of sexual exploitation.

About the Author

Jorge Barrera is a Caracas-born, award-winning journalist who has worked across the country and internationally. He works for CBC's Indigenous unit based out of Ottawa. Follow him on Twitter @JorgeBarrera or email him jorge.barrera@cbc.ca.

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