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Sask. man was drugged, sexually abused, held under water while living in group home, lawsuit alleges

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WARNING: Some readers may find details contained in this story disturbing.

Troubling allegations about the way a disabled man was treated by a Saskatchewan group home are emerging from a lawsuit.

The statement of claim says Darryl Boguski — who lives with autism, cerebral palsy, epilepsy and blindness — was drugged and sexually abused at the Shepherd’s Villa group home in Hepburn, Sask.

The lawsuit against Brent Gabona and others was filed on Wednesday, the same day the former Shepherd’s Villa employee pleaded guilty to five charges of sexual assault and sexual exploitation of a person with a disability for crimes that happened between 1996 and 2006.

The claim says Gabona “repeatedly and violently sexually assaulted” Boguski for 17 years.

It alleges he would take Boguski outside of the facility, including to Gabona's own home.

“The sexual assaults and battery on Darryl included anal intercourse and additional physical violence including holding Darryl’s head underwater,” the lawsuit reads.

In 1999, Boguski was diagnosed with suffering pulmonary edema, the accumulation of fluid in the lungs.

The document says he also suffered psychological injuries, bruising, rashes, swollen testicles, frequent urinary infections, “and in the case of other residents, stretching of the anus,” the document says.

Gabona’s mother Myrna Andres served as his supervisor at the group home and the was facility’s representative for meetings with social workers, according to the statement of claim.

It alleges Andres failed to take any steps to address Boguski’s deteriorating behaviour and injuries.

The claim also alleges Andres increasingly and inappropriately administered behaviour-controlling, sedative drugs “to the point of causing a severe risk to his health.”

The statement of claim also accuses the government-funded group home of breaching its duty of care.

The claim was filed on behalf of Boguski by his brother and legal guardian, Rick Boguski.

In addition to Gabona, Shepherd’s Villa, the Government of Saskatchewan and Andres are listed as defendants.

Boguski seeks damages “in an amount to be proven at trial.”

But Rick told CTV News the lawsuit isn’t about money, it’s about accountability and answers.

Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Social Services said it can’t comment on the specifics of this case due to confidentiality concerns and because the matter is before the courts.

However, in a statement to CTV News, the ministry said it has contracts with organizations to operate group homes.

“Under these contracts, organizations must ensure the safety, rights and respectful treatment of the individuals they support,” the statement reads.

"We have a zero tolerance for abuse, requiring service providers to report all serious incidents. In the event we receive allegations of abuse against any of our service providers, we immediately respond. This includes engaging with police, participating in the formal investigation, documenting the results and making recommendations to mitigate future incidents.”

None of the claims have been tested in court and no statements of defence have yet been filed.

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