Christian counsellor accused of sexually abusing teens he met through church
VANCOUVER -- A Christian counsellor from B.C.'s Lower Mainland has been charged in a series of historical sex crimes involving teenage boys.
Authorities said 75-year-old Raymond Howard Gaglardi is facing four counts of sexual assault and two counts of sexual exploitation for alleged abuse that took place at his Coquitlam home between 1993 and 2007.
The allegations involve three teenage boys and one young man. Coquitlam RCMP is also continuing to search for potential victims and witnesses who have not yet spoken out.
"It takes tremendous courage for adult men to come forward about abuse that happened when they were young," Cpl. Michael McLaughlin said in a news release. "In order to further this investigation, and protect any future victims, it’s important that we speak to others who may have been keeping this difficult secret."
Authorities said the accused, who also goes by "Dr. Ray Gaglardi," offered therapy sessions to young people he primarily met through their families at church. His credentials are unclear; a LinkedIn profile for Gaglardi does not specify any post-secondary education.
Gaglardi has been associated with a number of churches in Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam over the years, including Hillside Community Church, Austin Avenue Chapel and Evergreen Evangelical. McLaughlin said church leaders "have done everything they can to help police and make sure their parishioners are safe."
It's possible the investigation will expand to include a larger timeframe, other locations and different kinds of victims, McLaughlin suggested.
Police described Gaglardi as white and slim, standing 5'5" tall and weighing about 154 lbs. He has grey hair that may have been dyed brown.
He has been arrested and released from custody on a number of conditions, including that he can't be alone with anyone under the age of 18 unless they're in public. He also can't be alone with anyone under 18 unless their parents are aware of the allegations against him.
Police asked anyone with allegations about Gaglardi to contact the Coquitlam RCMP detachment's Sex Crimes Unit by calling 604-945-1550.