July 20th, 2024

Calgary judge approves $9.5-million settlement in Young Canadians abuse lawsuit

By The Canadian Press on June 28, 2024.

The sign at the Calgary Courts Centre in Calgary, Alberta is shown on January 5, 2018. A judge has approved a $9.5-million settlement for complainants in a class action lawsuit that accused the Calgary Stampede of allowing a performance school staffer to sexually abuse young boys. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Bill Graveland

CALGARY – A judge has approved a $9.5-million settlement for complainants in a class action lawsuit that accused the Calgary Stampede of allowing a performance school staffer to sexually abuse young boys.

The agreement is related to the case of Philip Heerema, who 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.

Justice Paul Jeffrey praised the young men who came forward and said the settlement was a fair one but does not right the wrongs that the Stampede allowed to occur.

The 39 members in the class action suit will each receive between $500 and $200,000.

Twenty percent of the money will be held in trust for any other complainants who come forward.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 28, 2024.

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