The man accused of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy was a volunteer coach with a Keeper’s Club International basketball team the alleged victim played on, police say.
A two-month investigation was launched in June when a friend of the alleged victim came forward to authorities, said Staff Sgt. John Guigon of the Calgary police Child Abuse Unit.
“There are some social stigma attached, more so with boys coming forward and self-identifying as a victim,” he said.
“So kudos to this young person for coming forward and recognizing their friend was in trouble.”
The alleged victim is receiving support from the Calgary and Area Child Advocacy Centre.
“It’s not easy,” said Guigon.
“We know, statistically, that kids who are sexually abused are at higher risk for PTSD, for drug and alcohol abuse, and even suicide. That goes down significantly when they get help. He’s getting help and we hope he is on the road to recovery.”
The accused was not previously known to police, said Guigon.
“He did some mentorship, some sponsorship, and some coaching,” he said.
“Primarily he drove the kids to and from basketball practises, games and tournaments.”
Police allege the man also bought the alleged victim gifts.
“From what we understand, some electronics, some shoes, some clothing, that kind of stuff,” said Guigon.
Teens coming home with unexplained, expensive gifts can be an early warning sign of potential abuse that parents can watch for, added Guigon.
Sexual abuse investigations normally take longer than two months, but Guigon said officers expedited this case.
“It went a lot faster than we typically see because we want to ensure no other children are being abused,” he said.
Last year the CPS Child Abuse Unit dealt with 657 cases and so far this year they’ve handled 372 cases, Guigon said.
“Typically, I think about 34 per cent (of victims) will be boys, 64 per cent are girls and around two per cent are transgendered,” he said.
Junny Gallaza, 59, is charged with:
Invitation to sexual touching
Obtaining sexual services for consideration.
He is scheduled to appear in court next on Aug. 21.
Police are asking anyone with information that could aid in this investigation to contact Det. Amy Spence of the Child Abuse Unit at 403-428-5457.
More information on recognizing the signs of child abuse can be found on the Calgary and are Child Advocacy Centre website.
Anyone who is a victim of crime or who believes they know someone who is, should contact the Calgary Police Service non-emergency line at 403-266-1234 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.