More charges approved against Christian counsellor accused of sexually abusing young men and teens
VANCOUVER -- More sexual assault charges have been approved against a Christian counsellor from B.C.'s Lower Mainland in connection to a series of historical crimes involving young men and teenage boys.
In July, authorities said 75-year-old Raymond Howard Gaglardi was 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.
At the time, police appealed for victims to come forward, believing there were more who had not yet spoken out.
Since then, another six counts of sexual assault and one additional count of sexual exploitation have been approved against Gaglardi, Mounties said Wednesday.
"Witnesses and victims have been incredible," Cpl. Michael McLaughlin with Coquitlam RCMP said in a news release.
"Their courage to speak has led directly to these seven additional charges. We want to assure them, and everyone involved, that our investigation is not over."
Police say nine victims were involved in the charges approved so far, and all were young men or teenage boys in Coquitlam at the time of the alleged incidents.
When the first charges were announced, 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.
Gaglardi was associated with a number of churches in Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam over the years, including Hillside Community Church, Austin Avenue Chapel and Evergreen Evangelical.
However, police say they are looking into whether there were any witnesses or victims who may have been involved with Glad Tidings Church in Vancouver or Glad Tidings Summer Camp in Sechelt in the 1970s or 1980s.
Anyone who thinks they were a victim or knows someone who was is asked to call Coquitlam RCMP at 604-945-1550 and ask to speak to the sex crimes unit.
With files from CTV News Vancouver's Andrew Weichel