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Sentencing hearing for convicted sexual predator scheduled for Rosthern courtFree Access

Brent James Gabona prior to his appearance at a court hearing in Rosthern in October, 2023

Brent James Gabona, a 54-year-old Waldheim resident, is scheduled to find out in Court of King’s Bench in Rosthern on Wednesday, January 24 how many years he’ll spend behind bars for sexually assaulting several vulnerable residents of the Shepherd’s Villa care home in Hepburn between 1992 and 2006.

Apart from a very short period of custody after he was first arrested by Rosthern RCMP in May, 2022, Gabona has been free in the community subject to court-imposed conditions. He pled guilty in Rosthern provincial court on March 8, 2023 to three counts of sexual assault and two counts of sexual exploitation of a person with a disability during the time he was employed at Shepherd’s Villa, and was originally scheduled to be sentenced at a court hearing in Rosthern on October 11, 2023.

However, during that October 11 court session, it was revealed publicly for the first time that Gabona had a previous criminal conviction. In April, 1992, Gabona was found guilty of sexual assault on a minor.

The presiding judge at the October 11, 2023 hearing deferred sentencing till January 24, 2024 in order to take Gabona’s past conviction into account.

During the October 11 court session, the Crown Prosecutor urged a 15-year sentence; while Gabona’s defense lawyer argued for six and half years.

Four of the five vulnerable adults that Gabona has admitted to sexually abusing have since passed away and cannot be identified because of a publication ban. However, one victim, Darryl Boguski, now in his 60s and living in Alberta with his brother and legal guardian, Rick Boguski, can be identified since the publication ban on his name was lifted by the court in June, 2022.

Rick Boguski said he’s “furious and heartsick” after learning that a man with a previous criminal conviction for sexual assault was allowed to prey repeatedly on his blind, autistic, non-verbal brother at a care home that was funded and overseen by the provincial social services ministry.

“While being hired and employed at Shepherd’s Villa, Gabona was to be seeking treatment in a justice-ordered offender program,” said Rick. “Gabona was on probation when he began assaulting Darryl and the others. How did things go off the rails so badly?”

Rick and Darryl Boguski launched a civil lawsuit in March, 2023, against Brent Gabona, Shepherd’s Villa group home, Myrna Andres (Brent Gabona’s mother, who was a supervisor at Shepherd’s Villa in 1992 and allegedly hired Brent Gabona as a care aide at that time), and the provincial Ministry of Social Services. The civil suit seeks financial compensation for Darryl’s medical treatments and psychological counselling required as  a result of repeated sexual, physical and emotional abuse suffered at Gabona’s hands.

While Gabona has admitted to sexual assaults on five vulnerable adults, there are likely other victims.

One of those may be the late Derek Hawkins, a resident of Shepherd’s Villa from the fall of 2003 to the fall of 2005. During those two years, Gabona was Derek’s full-time, 40-hour per week daily living assistant, responsible for bathing and showering.

No charges have ever been laid against Gabona in relation to Derek Hawkins because Gabona has never admitted to assaulting him.

Derek’s parents, Al and Naomi Hawkins, allege that Gabona also repeatedly sexually assaulted their late son. They are working hard to have Derek’s case investigated by police and have additional charges laid against Gabona.

“Are we expected to believe that Brent Gabona did not offend during this time as he was assigned to work only with Derek?” said Al Hawkins. “Are we to believe Brent Gabona did not commit the same sexual assaults against Derek in the same washroom that he has confessed committing these crimes against others?”