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UPDATE: Shepherd's Villa Sexual Abuse Sentencing



Today, Brent Gabona has been sentenced to 6.5 years in prison after pleading guilty to three counts of sexual assault and two counts of the sexual exploitation of a person with a disability. Gabona’s multiple sexual assaults occurred over a 17-year period while he worked at Shepherd's Villa, a group home in Hepburn, Saskatchewan. Gabona's initial sentence was 122 months but reduced by Judge Bruce Bauer to 78 months after citing the totality principle. Crown Prosecutor Lana Morelli had asked for 15 years.


Inclusion Saskatchewan stands with the victims, their families, and the community members harmed by decades of abuse. With the resolution of this trial, we wish to thank the members of law enforcement, the Crown Prosecutor, and those who provided legal services. Our thoughts are with the victims and their families as we continue to advocate for safer community services for people with intellectual disabilities in Saskatchewan.


Read our Shepherd's Villa Community Impact Statement below (this was read at a sentencing hearing in October 2023).


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Inclusion Saskatchewan stands here today on behalf of all people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Saskatchewan, as well as their families. We stand here on behalf of all of those who reside in group homes throughout the province who have put their trust, faith, and very survival in the hands of support staff who promise to keep them safe. We stand here and speak on behalf of those who do not have a voice, because they were silenced. We stand here and speak on behalf of those who were not heard, because no one would listen. We stand here and speak on behalf of those who were not seen, because their pain was invisible. And, we stand here and speak on behalf of those who are no longer with us, because the help they so desperately needed didn’t arrive in time, or at all.


With one voice, we are here to say that the pain and suffering you have caused has no measure. It has no end. No shape. No colour. No limit or boundary or border. There are no words that can describe it. Nothing that can heal it.


It has rippled throughout Saskatchewan, Canada, and beyond. And, it has caused permanent, severe, and irreparable harm to the people we represent, the disability community, and every person living under the care of support staff. The people in our community are shaken to the core.


For those living with intellectual disabilities, your actions have changed the way they see the world. On top of the barriers they face each day of their lives, they now live in a world where the people they trust the most can no longer be trusted. They live in a world darkened by thoughts of what might happen should they find themselves in the same position as your many victims. They are terrified. They don’t know who, if anyone, they can turn to. They don’t know who, if anyone, will care.


For families of those living with intellectual disabilities, they are left wondering if this is happening to their loved one. Or, that it already happened. Or, that they’ll never know. They live each day, never escaping the thought that, their son, daughter, brother or sister, may be living in agony, powerless and vulnerable, unable to escape. Betrayed and relentlessly victimized and abused by the person responsible for keeping them safe, healthy, and happy.


This is what you have done. This is how you have harmed the people we speak for today.


But, we are also here to say that those living with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and their families, are resilient. Their lives are built on overcoming barriers, pushing for change, and fighting for inclusion. They are brilliant. They are kind, and just, and caring. Their hearts are filled with love and joy. Their lives are filled with adventure, opportunity, and potential. They are stronger than you can ever know.


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For more information, contact:


Travis Neufeld

Director of Marketing & Communications

Inclusion Saskatchewan

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