Police have charged a Cape Breton man with more than 60 sexual offences as part of a multi-agency investigation by the Nova Scotia Provincial Human Trafficking Unit, the Cape Breton Regional Police Service and the Nova Scotia RCMP.
On December 6, investigators, including members of the Provincial Human Trafficking Unit, the Cape Breton Regional Police Service and the RCMP, safely arrested a man at a home in Dominion. The arrest is part of an investigation that began in 2021, when several victims reported that a man was targeting females in the Cape Breton area.
Through the course of the investigation, officers uncovered evidence that females were being video recorded without their consent and that the videos were being posted and sold online.
Seventeen survivors have come forward, reporting incidents that occurred between 2008 and 2023. Investigators believe there may be additional survivors.
“I commend the survivors for their courage and the investigative team for its commitment – this is what enabled the investigation and the very significant charges,” says Inspector Murray Marcichiw, Officer-in-Charge, RCMP Major Crime and Behavioural Sciences Group and the Provincial Human Trafficking Unit. “I believe this sends a clear message that gender-based violence is criminal and must be eliminated.”
“Thanks to the efforts of this collective investigation, we have been able to put a stop to some very concerning behaviours for the safety of people in our community,” says Cape Breton Regional Police Chief Robert Walsh. “This is a great example of what we can accomplish through collaboration and partnership, and we are committed to working with the Provincial Human Trafficking Unit and our partners in policing to prevent human trafficking in our province.”
Paul Theriault JR, 45, of Dominion has been charged with 64 offences, including:
- Human Trafficking (2 counts)
- Obtaining Sexual Services for Consideration (3 counts)
- Communicate for the Purpose of Obtaining Sexual Services (4 counts)
- Procuring (2 counts)
- Sexual Assault (10 counts)
- Sexual Assault Causing Bodily Harm
- Publication of Intimate Images Without Consent (11 counts)
- Voyeurism (4 counts)
- Sexual Interference
- Possession of Child Pornography (2 counts)
- Trafficking in Substances (11 counts)
- Administer Noxious Thing (6 counts)
- Luring a Child by Telecommunications (4 counts)
- Invitation to Sexual Touching
- Unauthorized Possession of a Prohibited Weapon
Theriault appeared in Sydney Provincial Court on December 7 and has been remanded into custody pending his next appearance on December 12.
The investigation is ongoing and is being led by the Provincial Human Trafficking Unit, the Cape Breton Regional Police Service and the Nova Scotia RCMP, including the Proceeds of Crime Unit, Digital Forensic Services Unit, the Southwest Nova RCMP Major Crime Unit, the Cybercrime Unit, the Integrated Child Exploitation Unit, and the Interview Assistance Team.
The elimination of gender-based violence continues to be a priority for police in Nova Scotia. If you’re experiencing, or have experienced, gender-based violence, you’re not alone. Police employ a trauma-informed approach; survivors of gender-based violence can contact us and discuss an incident before deciding to further participate in the investigation and court process. Survivor supports are available, including through Victim Services.
If you’re a survivor, know someone who may be a survivor, or have information related to the incidents, please contact your local police or RCMP detachment. If you’re being, or have been, trafficked, or believe someone you know is being trafficked, call the Nova Scotia Human Trafficking Hotline at 902-449-2425 or the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-833-900-1010. Should you wish to remain anonymous, call Nova Scotia Crime Stoppers, toll-free, at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477), submit a secure web tip at www.crimestoppers.ns.ca, or use the P3 Tips App.