By The Canadian Press on February 6, 2024.
CALGARY – The Calgary Stampede has agreed to pay $9.5 million in damages to complainants in a class-action lawsuit that alleged the organization allowed a performance school staffer to sexually abuse young boys.
A statement from Stampede lawyers says the deal is subject to court approval and will hopefully help the complainants heal.
Phillip Heerema received a 10-year prison sentence in 2018 after pleading guilty to charges including sexual assault, sexual exploitation, child pornography and luring.
He was recently granted day parole.
Heerema admitted to using 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 as far back as 1992.
The Stampede, in the lawsuit, admitted to negligence and breach of duty.