Sex offender Dustin Paxton indifferent in group counselling: social worker

CALGARY – A social worker says convicted sex offender Dustin Paxton feigned indifference during group counselling sessions but exerted a great deal of control over other members of the addiction group.

Lori LaRose, a clinical social worker at the Southern Alberta Forensic Psychiatry Centre, testified Monday at the resumption of Paxton’s dangerous offender hearing in Calgary.

Paxton, 33, was found guilty in February 2012 of aggravated and sexual assault against his former business partner and roommate after a man was found dumped at a Regina hospital in 2010 — badly emaciated, bruised, broken and bleeding.

LaRose said Paxton took part in four one-hour group sessions aimed at helping inmates deal with the impact that alcohol, drugs or gambling had on them and family members.

She said while Paxton was one of the first people to show up for the meetings and took on a bit of a leadership role in helping hand out reading material, he never shared with the group.

“He always took a pass. What I observed was more indifference — non-verbal communication to the other participants,” said Larose. “He was jumpy and a little bit agitated. Mostly staring and glaring.”

LaRose said Paxton seemed more focused on other individuals than on the counselling itself.

“He exercised a fair bit of power over the group,” she said. “People were a little more guarded and afraid to speak.”

LaRose said the meetings would often become emotional as participants would talk about their regets and fears, but that wasn’t the case with Paxton.

“There was none. I recall not observing anything of that.”

The Crown wants Paxton declared a dangerous offender, which would mean he would be kept in jail indefinitely. It has argued Paxton could pose a danger to the public and his behaviour is unlikely to change.

The Crown is expected to wrap up its case this week. There’s no word on how long the defence will need to present its evidence.

During the trial Paxton’s victim testified that he was starved, humiliated and beaten on an almost-daily basis.

He told court he took the abuse because he didn’t want to look like “a sissy” and had dreams of making big money in the business he and Paxton started.

“I was in survival mode,” the man testified. “I would do anything not to get beaten.”

He said the attacks would happen over the smallest things, such as leftovers in the fridge.

“I was beat up with a two-by-four that broke every one of my ribs and ruptured my bowel. He probably hit me 25 times. He was hitting me in all different ways. I was standing there and I had to let him hit me.”

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