A former pastor, therapist and counsellor who worked for churches in Coquitlam and Vancouver walked out of a court prisoner’s box today to be handcuffed and led to jail.
On Friday (Jan. 20), BC Supreme Court Justice Paul W. Riley imposed a sentence of 12 years and 11 months against Raymond Gaglardi; however, it was reduced by half under the totality principle due to his age, meaning Gaglardi will be behind bars for six years and six months.
Gaglardi, a diminutive man of 78 years old, showed no emotion as Riley took nearly 90 minutes to read out his reasons for judgment, or when the judge imposed the sentence.
His wife of 49 years, who sat behind the prisoner’s box, showed no expression as well.
But some victims present in court, and their spouses, brushed away tears after the decision. Several other victims — some dating back four decades — watched the hearing online.
Last year, following a trial, Riley convicted Gaglardi on 11 of the 25 offences before him. On the counts, each of the 11 victims experienced between one and three sexual assaults.
Riley recounted how Gaglardi befriended his victims at the Glad Tidings Church in Vancouver, its academy or summer camp, as well as at the Hillside Community Church in Coquitlam or at his counselling practice, located in the basement of his Coquitlam home.
The judge said Gaglardi “preyed” on adolescent boys or young men who came from troubled homes or were in need of help. They came to trust “Dr. Ray” for emotional support because he was part of the church and he told them he held a PhD in philosophy from Ohio Christian College, a post-secondary institution in the U.S. that was later declared to be fraudulent.
Gaglardi’s interactions with the boys and young men were “bizarre” and “opportunistic,” the judge told the New Westminster courtroom: In private, Gaglardi would check their bodies for venereal disease, touch their penises, use a pen-like instrument to examine their genitals, massage their prostate, provide pornographic material to masturbate or perform a coffee enema.
In another case in Coquitlam, Gaglardi did an anal swab with a Q-Tip to look at the feces.
And when the boys reported Gaglardi’s sexual conduct, they were often shunned from their broken families, who believed the church-going authority figure instead of their children.
The impact was long-lasting, the court heard, as many victims said Gaglardi’s actions led to shame, embarrassment and trauma that had a ripple effect on their future relationships.
In sentencing, Riley said he took into account Gaglardi’s age and his lack of criminal history, but he also noted Gaglardi's abuse of position within the churches, his claim he was a trained doctor and therapist, and the duration of his crimes, which lasted from 1971 to 2017.
Besides his 155-month sentence in prison — cut to 78 months behind bars — Gaglardi will also be on a sex offender registry for 20 years and provide a DNA sample, Riley ordered.
Last year, the court heard that the victims are now suing Gaglardi and Glad Tidings Church.
If you or someone you know is a victim of sexual assault, help is available.
- In an emergency, call 9-1-1
- In a crisis, call 1-800-563-0808
- To report a person under 19 who needs protection to the Ministry of Children and Family Development, call 310-1234 (no area code required)
You can find a full list of resources on the B.C. government’s website.