A Coquitlam man known as “Dr. Ray” was sentenced to 6.5 years in prison after being found guilty of abusing 11 boys and young men over a 40-year span.
B.C. Supreme Court Justice W. Paul Riley handed down the sentence Friday.
Raymond Gaglardi, 78, used his position of trust – both as a teacher and counsellor at Glad Tidings Temple in Vancouver and in running a counselling practice in Coquitlam – to exploit the vulnerability of his victims, according to court documents.
Gaglardi touched his victims in a sexual manner while ostensibly checking for injuries, assessing muscular development, or conducting a human sexuality experiment, according to the recently-published ruling. In one instance he deployed an electrical device intended to “measure electrical flow” in order to understand his client’s counselling needs.
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Gaglardi’s victims ranged in age from 10 to 30 years old.
One victim described others in the church turning their backs on him, adding that “his life was sent down a path of concealment, denial and hate.”
Another victim described difficulties in maintaining relationships and struggles with his faith following the assault.
“Pretending to care about my emotional, physical and spiritual well being, only to betray that trust, set in motion a life filled with mistrust, anger, and most of all a fear of rejection,” one victim told the court.
Some victims described having challenging home lives before meeting Gaglardi. One victim referred to himself as “easy prey.”
Another victim called Gaglardi a “father figure,” explaining that he believed Gaglardi was a psychologist or a doctor of psychology.
Gaglardi often referred to himself as a doctor, including at Glad Tidings church, when promoting his counselling practice and on his website “Dr. Ray.ca.”
In the 1960s, Gaglardi received a degree via correspondence from Ohio Christian College, an institution Justice Riley referred to as: “basically a sham organization.”
In 1972, United States Federal Trade Commission ordered Ohio Christian College to stop issuing degrees and using the word “college.”
The institution had: “no faculty members who are trained and competent to teach accredited and recognized college undergraduate or graduate course of any kind,” according to the order.
“To be fair, he has never held himself out to be a medical doctor. Rather, he has taken the position that he is has a PhD with a specialization in counselling,” Riley wrote.
In 1994, Gaglardi started offering “counselling, mentorship, and holistic natural health and wellness services” from his home in Coquitlam. He had a practice in the basement of his house although he also conducted some aspects of his counselling work in his home gym, which was furnished with mirrored walls, exercise equipment and mats.
Riley noted that “a great number” of clients saw Gaglardi strictly for talk therapy, which shows Gaglardi’s practice: “was not set up as a fraud or a sham solely for the purposes of facilitating sexual misconduct.”
However, Riley found Gaglardi was “opportunistic,” using his counselling practice: “to prey upon and abuse the six victims . . . all of whom were vulnerable teenagers or young men.”
Gaglardi practised “quantum health” and “energy work.”
During his trial testimony, Gaglardi asserted that quantum health was linked to “quantum physics.
“. . . though he admitted having no actual knowledge of quantum physics and there is no objective evidence to suggest that the link between physics and Mr. Gaglardi’s “quantum” therapy was anything other than a label or marketing tool,” Riley wrote.
Letters of support
The court received 14 letters in support of Gaglardi, outlining his community contributions. However, given the secretive nature of the sexual offenses, those character references are “of limited value,” Riley wrote.
“[Gaglardi’s] reputation and good standing in various churches was actually one of the factors that led the victims to place trust in him,” Riley wrote.
“To be fair and balanced, the victims were not children of tender years. However, many of the victims were children and all of them were much younger and less mature than [Gaglardi],“ Riley wrote.
Gaglardi denied any wrongdoing. He said he “has only ever had intimate relationships with age- appropriate women and denies any sexual interest in males or in children,” according to the judgment.
Noting that these types of offenses are “more common than anyone would hope,” Riley explained the sentence: “must send a clear and consistent message that crimes of sexual violence will be met with substantial penalties.”
The justice initially sentenced Gaglardi to 12 years and 11 months. However, Riley expressed concern regarding Gaglardi’s age.
“A sentence of almost 13 years may well approximate [Gaglardi’s] life expectancy,” he wrote.
Riley instead opted on a sentence of six years and six months.
“While this is a substantial reduction in the overall sentence, it is in my view necessary to avoid the injustice of a sentence that would be crushing,” he wrote.
Gaglardi is a low risk to re-offend due to his age, the end of his counselling practice, and the terms of his parole, Riley wrote.