More sex charges against former boys’ ranch operator

Suspect formerly from Hamilton ran ranch for foster children in Ancaster in 1969.

Hamilton police have filed more sex charges against a former city man who ran the now defunct Way-J-Boys Ranch for foster children in rural Ancaster over 40 years ago.

Police said Thursday Howard Wayne Jones, 68, is now facing three charges indecent assault on a male and three counts of gross indecency in relation to incidents at the Bennetto Community Centre pool in Hamilton in 1967, a private home in Hamilton in 1968 and the Way-J-Boys Ranch in 1969.

The Bennetto Community Centre is a city operated rec centre on Hughson Street North. Police did not say what those complaints involved.

Sergeant Terri-Lynn Collings said investigators believe there may be more victims involved with at the Bennetto pool.

Jones, who was arrested on a Hamilton police warrant at his home by RCMP in Salmon Arm, B.C., on Aug 8 had been already charged with indecent assault on a male and gross indecency.

These charges relate to offences in 1969 and therefore are titled as they were under the Criminal Code as it stood at that time. He has no prior convictions.

The charges in relation to alleged incidents at the Way-J-Boys Ranch involve foster children who stayed at the farm.

Detective Dave Oleniuk of the police victims of crime unit said in a statement Thursday police believe there may be further victims and encouraged anyone with information to contact him at 905-5405543.

Oleniuk said the latest charges came about after a victim came forward following previous media releases.

Jones,, who ran the boys’ ranch on Powerline Road East in Copetown in 1969, was arrested

Hamilton police said Jones was arrested following complaints about the ranch, which surfaced early last spring. Police made a public appeal for witnesses in the Hamilton area in May and other witnesses have come forward.

Oleniuk said previously the Way-J Boys Ranch was only in operation a short time, about six months from about the end of March or early April, until the end of August or early September in 1969. Jones ran the ranch until it closed after there were “some complaints.”

Oleniuk could not say what those complaints were. The victim made no statement at the time and so there was nothing on record.

“There is no statute of limitations on criminal offences in Canada, “ Oleniuk said.

Shortly after, Jones went out west and lived in various towns in British Columbia. He has been there ever since. Oleniuk believes he was a building superintendent and held various other jobs.

Not much else is known about Jones. He once had family here, but doesn’t anymore.

Police did say he volunteered at a drop-in centre for neighbourhood kids run out of St. Luke’s parish in the north end of Hamilton, prior to his involvement at the ranch in 1969. It’s believed the building burned down in 1970. No allegations have been made with regard to this location.

Way-J Boys Ranch could care for eight foster boys between the ages of 10-14. Police expect there may be more victims. Now that Jones’ name has been released and charges have been laid, police hope they will come forward.

“I’ve got a few first names, “ said Oleniuk. “Other witnesses have come forward, but unfortunately I haven’t been able to identify anybody, but my victim.”

The Children’s Aid Society (CAS) and the Catholic Children’s Aid Society (CCAS) have no records of organizations dating back to the 1960s making it difficult to identify other potential victims.

“We have records that go back to the early 1900s, but we track individuals, not residences, “ Dominic Verticchio, executive director, CAS of Hamilton said in May. “The recordkeeping of today’s standards is night and day to what it was in the ‘60s.”

The ranch occupied a farm on the property that was leased by Jones. Last spring detectives released an old black-and-white photograph of the house in hopes of jogging someone’s memory. The photograph was taken in 1974 before renovations were done on the house.

Investigators are asking anyone with more information to contact the Hamilton police victims of crime unit.