September 24, 2021
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Halton police held a town hall meeting at the Bronte Harbour Yacht Club in Oakville Wednesday night. Former coach at the club, 31-year old Shawn Hewson faces allegations he sexually assaulted six teenaged boys. The victims are adults now and say the abuse ranges from 2003-2009.Hewson had a solid reputation when the club hired him 18 months ago.“Police checks are clean, no indication of that sort of stuff. He was a nice guy, he was very good at what he did. He was a very charismatic individual, worked very hard, the kids all loved him. He did a great job,” says Brian Miller of the Bronte Harbour Yacht Club.Those connected to the yacht club feel shell shocked by the allegations.“We think about the kids who worked with him directly, in many cases knew him for years and years, this is a huge shock and incredibly stressful.”CHCH was initially told we could attend the meeting with no cameras. Once a reporter arrived, we were told we weren’t allowed in at all.“The mood was very tense to begin with, people are still in shock from this,” says Miller.Many parents were so upset they refused to give any comments after the meeting.“They’re kids are totally stressed by this, they all knew him really well, they liked him. He did a great job with them and they don’t know what to think.” Hewson worked in the Burlington/Oakville sailing community for years. Something prompted the four male victims to come forward years after the alleged abuse“Part of it was ongoing struggles in life and relationships and schooling and things like that. I guess in retrospect when they looked and said why is this happening to me, why am I falling apart now, inside I think they really know why and at some stage they can’t hold it in anymore and it’s got to come out,” says Detective Sergeant John Mans with Halton police. Police and the club are providing resources to families, and they want parents to be prepared to have difficult conversations with their children.“He was in a position of trust and authority he befriended these families these children. He gained their trust and they depended on him,” says Sergeant Mans.Hewson is facing 18 charges and will appear in court for a bail hearing on Thursday.