May 22nd, 2024

Judge to decide on approving $9.5M-settlement in Stampede abuse class-action lawsuit

By The Canadian Press on April 30, 2024.

CALGARY – A Calgary judge will determine in June if he will approve a proposed settlement for complainants in a class-action lawsuit that alleged the Calgary Stampede allowed a performance school staffer to sexually abuse young boys.

The agreement is related to the case of Phillip Heerema.

Heerema received a 10-year prison sentence in 2018 after pleading guilty to charges including sexual assault, sexual exploitation, child pornography and luring.

Heerema admitted he used his position with the Young Canadians School of Performing Arts – which performs each year in the Calgary Stampede Grandstand Show – to lure and groom six boys into sexual relationships between 2005 and 2014, as well as in 1992.

The Stampede has agreed to pay $9.5 million in damages and Justice Paul Jeffrey will decide on June 28 whether to approve it.

The majority of the money will go to the roughly two dozen complainants who most impacted by the abuse.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 30, 2024.

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