Toronto, ON – Inclusion Canada is following the case of Brent Gabona, who today appears before the Saskatchewan Provincial Court. Gabona is accused of sexually assaulting multiple people with intellectual disabilities, including Darryl Boguski, over a 17 year period while employed at Shepherd’s Villa, a Saskatchewan group home where the individuals lived.
“We expect nothing less than a fulsome investigation, and for all persons with intellectual disabilities and their families to be adequately supported and accommodated in the justice system.” said Krista Carr, Executive Vice-President of Inclusion Canada. “It is important that we fully investigate whether other individuals Gabona worked with were victimized. Justice must be served.”
People with intellectual disabilities are five times more likely than people without disabilities to experience sexual assault. Statistically, they are most often abused by people paid to support and care or people in relationships of trust. People living in institutions that congregate and isolate people with intellectual disabilities are known to be in particular danger of sexual assault.
Unfortunately, people with intellectual disabilities are also often stereotyped as suggestible, unable to communicate, or lacking in credibility by criminal justice system actors. However, all people with intellectual disabilities can participate in court with appropriate support and accommodations.
“Cases like this are absolutely heartbreaking. We know full well that stereotypes about intellectual disability and ableism get in the way of justice,” said Robin Acton, President of Inclusion Canada, “It’s crucial that the voices of people with intellectual disabilities and their families are heard and not dismissed.”
Inclusion Canada was involved in the Slatter case, which was decided in 2020. The Supreme Court found that “over-reliance on generalities can perpetuate harmful myths and stereotypes about individuals with disabilities” and that this is “inimical to the truth-seeking process” and “creates barriers to those seeking justice.”
It’s impossible to know how many crimes remain un-reported. Inclusion Canada is calling on the RCMP to approach all residents of Shepherd’s Villa, where Gabona worked. And the courts must rise to the standards of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to provide people with intellectual disabilities the support and accommodations they need to ensure equitable access to justice.
For more information, please contact:
Marc Muschler, Inclusion Canada,
416-661-9611 ext. 232
About Inclusion Canada
Inclusion Canada is a national federation of 13 provincial-territorial associations and over 300 local associations working to advance the full inclusion and human rights of people with an intellectual disability and their families. We lead the way in building an inclusive Canada by strengthening families, defending rights, and transforming communities into places where everyone belongs.