Family also believes their loved one was sexually assaulted at Sask. group home
Another family member has come forward who believes their loved one was a victim of sexual assault at a Saskatchewan group home.
Jacqueline Forbes lives in Shaunavon, Sask. and believes her brother Dean Astle may have been an alleged victim of sexual assault at Shepherd’s Villa in Hepburn, Sask.
She says her now 38-year-old brother is non-verbal and was under the care of Brent Gabona at Shepherd’s Villa in 2006 until Gabona left in 2009.
Gabona, 52, is charged with five counts of sexual assault and three counts of sexual exploitation of a person with a disability for incidents alleged to have occurred at the home. Police believe the assaults took place between 1992 and 2009.
Forbes first heard about the news through the media when Gabona was charged and arrested in May.
“(I felt) Frustration, anger, rage, sadness, disgust you name it. There’s such a range of emotions that we’ve all felt from the time that we all found out until now,” Forbes told CTV News.
Forbes says RCMP didn’t reach out to her which has “been a matter of frustration.” She says she got in touch with RCMP, asking to include her brother as one of the victims.
“I was more or less told that because he is non-verbal and he was not an individual that was not named by Brent Gabona, that he wouldn’t be able to provide witness for himself therefore it would be a dead case at that point,” Forbes said.
Last week, Naomi and Al Hawkins told CTV News they believe their deceased son was also potentially a victim of sexual assault. However, they said RCMP are not counting him among Gabona's alleged victims.
Rick Boguski, whose brother is among Gabona's alleged victims, also believes there may be others who were potentially sexually assaulted.
In an email to CTV News earlier this week, RCMP said it “does not generally confirm or deny who may or may not be the subject of an investigation.”
“This posture is to protect rights to privacy of potential subjects, as well as to maintain the integrity of the potential ongoing investigation.”
RCMP said, generally speaking, that all potential crimes that are reported are subject to investigation.
Forbes said she last spoke with RCMP earlier this month and says they won’t answer her calls.
“I’m not able to get anywhere or even start the process for justice for him. I mean obviously, we’re going to want justice for everyone,” Forbes said.
She says her brother was under Gabona's care for three years and is hoping to speak up for him since he can’t express what happened at Shepherd’s Villa.
“My question is, what would make me believe that he drew the line at my brother’s door who was next door to those he has literally, three feet away, did enter and hurt,” she said.
Gabona is expected to appear in court on July 13 in Rosthern.
The original story reported Dean's last name as Astele, but it should have been Astle. It has been updated.
It also said that Gabona was under her brother's care. It has been corrected to say her brother was under Gabona's care.