Brother of alleged Sask. group home sexual assault victim worries his days were ‘filled with dread’

A man who thought his brother would “flourish” during his time living in a Hepburn, Sask. group home says he’s now “filled with guilt.”

Due to a court-ordered publication banned to protect his brother’s identity, CTV News is only using the man’s first name.

Rick says his now 62-year-old brother who lived in Shepherd’s Villa for roughly 25 years is one of five of Brent Gabona’s alleged victims.

Gabona, 52, faces five counts of sexual assault and three counts of sexual exploitation of a person with a disability. According to police, the assaults are believed to have occurred between 1992 and 2009.

“We thought that this was where he would flourish, where he would be safe. Now all we have are questions and thoughts that his days would have been filled with dread, ”he told CTV News.

He says the shock of the news is still settling in.

“Five helpless individuals allegedly assaulted over a period of years, and one of them is your brother. A man who is blind, autistic, has some cerebral palsy and is a severe epileptic. How is he supposed to process this when I can’t?”

In 2014, Rick relocated this brother to Alberta, where he resided in another group home until the start of the pandemic. He now cares for him at home.

“While we’re still in shock and overwhelmed by this, I find myself having to speak out … these are people who were fully dependent on Brent Gabona.”

In a statement last week, Shepherd’s Villa said the group home had “no knowledge of the alleged abuse” and is fully cooperating with the RCMP’s investigation. It’s also conducting its own investigation.

The statement said Gabona has not been employed at the care home since 2009. The other alleged victims are no longer residents of the group home.

The alleged assaults were reported to the Rosthern RCMP on April 19 and Gabona was arrested last week.

Rick says Gabona has been released from custody on conditions and hopes to seek “proper justice.”

“It sends to me the message that you can be accused of committing serious crimes, but you can go home and watch the hockey playoffs while your alleged victims are left to reel in the horror of it all,” Rick said.

Rick hopes that by speaking out he can be a voice for his brother and the four other alleged victims.

He says Shepherd’s Villa has not reached out to him but would be interested to learn more about what allegedly occurred under its roof.

“Peace is being able to look at the foothills and the mountains that surround our home and see the beauty again because right now all I feel is sadness.”

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