St. Catharines – A St. Catharines resident facing more than 100 sexual assault charges involving boys in Sarnia could have other victims who haven’t come forward, police say.
Douglas Harold Patrick, 63, of no fixed address, was arrested by Niagara Regional Police Tuesday after an eight-month investigation by the Sarnia Police Service involving historic sex assaults.
He’s lived in St. Catharines for the past 10 years.
Patrick made a brief appearance at the Sarnia courthouse Wednesday and his matter was adjourned to Feb. 23 by video from the Sarnia jail.
He was charged with 111 historic sex-related offences involving 18 separate victims from 1983 to 1990. The boys were nine to 15 years old at the time of the alleged offences.
Det. Const. Heather Patterson of the Sarnia Police Service said police believe Patrick targeted boys in his south-end neighbourhood.
He was seen as the “friendly neighbourhood guy” who kept children’s dirt bikes on his lawn for boys to play with, though he didn’t have children of that age.
Boys who visited his house, often with other boys, would allegedly be supplied with alcohol and cigarettes.
A man came forward last year to report being sexually assaulted as a child and told police he believed other children were present and assaulted too.
“It was a domino effect,” Patterson said. “Everyone we spoke with provided a couple more names.”
Although charges were laid in relation to 18 boys, now in their mid-30s and 40s, Patterson said police have spoken with other possible victims in Sarnia who don’t want to come forward at this time.
Patrick, originally from St. Catharines, moved to Sarnia in 1975 for work. He was a dump truck driver and worked for a pest control service there.
In 1992, he was convicted of sexual exploitation involving a 15-year-old boy and was sentenced to six months in jail and two years probation.
About 10 years ago, he moved back to St. Catharines, where police said he has worked driving a delivery truck and has lived at friends’ houses.
Both Sarnia police and NRP said it’s possible there are victims in Niagara.
NPR Det. Sgt. Paul Bevan, of the sexual assault unit, said sex offenders don’t stop their activities because of the geographical jurisdiction they live in. Their behaviour can go on for decades and decades, he said.
“We believe there may be people in the community who may have information that could be of assistance to our agency or the Sarnia police service,” he said.
Charges laid by Sarnia police included sexual assault, gross indecency, sexual exploitation, buggery, invitation to sexual touching, sexual interference, uttering threats to cause death and assault with a weapon.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the NRP’s sexual assault unit at 905-688-4111. Anonymous tips can be made to Crime Stoppers of Niagara by calling 1-800-222-8477. Tips can be made online at www.niagaratips.ca or via text message to 274637 with NIAGARA as the subject.