OVERGAARD — Noah John Paradis, 19, of Cochran, Georgia, has been identified by camp officials as the camp counselor and suspect who allegedly sexually assaulted minors attending CentriKid Camp in Overgaard.

In a letter, officials with LifeWay camp, in the 2300 block of Bison Trail in Overgaard, said the alleged incidents occurred during CentriKid Camp, affiliated with ministry of LifeWay and LifeWay Christian Resources.

Children from across the state attended the camp.

It appears the alleged abuse of two minors took place between June 10-14, according to camp officials. Paradis has been charged with multiple felony counts of child molestation.

Neither camp officials nor police have disclosed the exact nature of the alleged abuses since it is an ongoing investigation and there may be additional victims.

The Navajo County Sheriff’s Office is asking anyone who may have been abused by Paradis or has information to contact NCSO Det. Sally O’Hair at 928-524-4050.

O’Hair is the lead investigator in the case and has specialized training in sexual abuse cases.

LifeWay officials said Paradis was fired as soon as they learned of the charges.

“We are heartbroken for the victims and the victims’ families. I commend the victims for their bravery in disclosing the abuse,” wrote LifeWay acting CEO Brad Waggoner in the letter announcing Paradis’ arrest and termination from the camp. “Our primary concern is the safety and wellbeing of all our camp participants. We are grieved that someone representing LifeWay would behave in this manner and abuse their position of authority with a child. LifeWay is working with local law enforcement as the investigation is ongoing and will continue to follow their lead in the case.”

“We also want to come alongside the families and their church and walk with them through this ordeal,” Waggoner added. “We have alerted the six churches that attended this camp about the events that took place and included information that would enable them to report any additional incidents. LifeWay is committed to providing a safe, Christian environment for all camp participants. We continue to advance employee training for employees across LifeWay, including all summer staff who work with kids and student camps.”

LifeWay officials said camp leaders immediately notified police and the parents of the victims once they learned of the alleged abuse.

LifeWay officials said they have “decades” of experience hosting camps and perform both reference and criminal background checks on all seasonal and full-time staff.

They said that staffers are also required to take training related to sexual abuse.

LifeWay officials also said they provide an independent expert on abuse that all camp leaders can contact for additional support and direction.

“We are grieved our safeguards did not prevent this from happening,” Waggoner said. “We are committed to continually evaluating and updating our policies and procedures to ensure we are doing everything we can to prevent this type of event in the future. LifeWay will continue to be vigilant about the security and safety of the children and teens who attend LifeWay camps and events.”

The Independent contacted Carol Pipes, director of corporate communications for LifeWay, who said they could not comment because it is an ongoing law enforcement investigation.

As of Wednesday, June 19, Paradis was still in NCSO custody in Holbrook under no bond.

Reach the reporter at mleiby@wmicentral.com

Mike Leiby covers police, courts, and the towns of Snowflake and Taylor.

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