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After sexually abusing people with disabilities at Sask. group home, Brent Gabona went on to work at SARCAN

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A man who admitted to abusing adults with disabilities at a care home he worked at, went on to continue working with vulnerable people.

Brent Gabona pleaded guilty to three counts of sexual assault and two counts of sexual exploitation of a person with a disability, while he worked at Shepherd’s Villa — a group home for people with disabilities in Hepburn, Sask.

The crimes happened during a 17-year period, from 1992 to 2006.

Gabona continued to work at Shepherd’s Villa until 2009.

That same year, he was hired at SARCAN recycling depots in Martensville and Waldheim.

SARCAN is the province-wide recycling organization that employs people experiencing disability.

Gabona was fired from SARCAN on May 13, 2022 — three days after he was arrested. He no longer works at SARCAN.

In a statement to CTV News, SARCAN Recycling says it has a policy that requires prospective employees to undergo security checks.

“We can confirm that Brent Gabona did provide a satisfactory security record check at that time,” the statement reads.

“SARCAN had no prior knowledge of these incidents and have fully cooperated with the RCMP’s investigation when required.”

 

FAMILY BELIEVES THERE ARE MORE VICTIMS

Rick Boguski, who’s brother was one of Gabona’s victims, worries Gabona’s abuse could have continued beyond Shepherd’s Villa.

“We've been concerned since day one about other potential victims,” Boguski says.

“We strongly believe that a serial rapist, a violent serial rapist, such as Gabona, doesn’t have a start and end date — and that there were likely victims before Shepherd’s Villa and probably victims after Shepherd’s Villa.”

Gabona’s criminal charges do not involve his time working at SARCAN Recycling. Nonetheless, SARCAN decided to launch its own, internal investigation in May 2022.

“Results of the investigation led us to conclude that no incidents occurred related to Brent Gabona’s time or their work as an employee of SARCAN Recycling,” according to SARCAN’s statement.

Al and Naomi Hawkins believe their deceased son, Derek, was a victim of Gabona. He provided care for Derek at Shepherd’s Villa from 2003 to 2005.

The Hawkins have been pushing for police to take a closer look at their case.

“We’re not even sure [an investigation] has started. There’s been nothing done on our behalf that we haven’t done ourselves,” Naomi Hawkins told reporters, following Gabona’s guilty plea on March 8.

A spokesperson for the RCMP told CTV News the investigation “is still ongoing at this time.”

Boguski is urging anyone with possible information about Gabona to come forward.

About half of SARCAN Recycling depots in Saskatchewan are operated by community organizations — under contract, by SARC.

From 2009 to 2013 the Martensville and Waldheim SARCAN recycling depot were run by Menno Homes of Saskatchewan, a non-profit organization that supported people with developmental disabilities.

Menno Homes was then bought out by Christian Horizons. In 2016, the recycling depots were taken over by SARCAN. 

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