Child sex abuse trial begins for former Young Canadians employee Philip Heerema


A trial begins Monday for a former employee of Calgary performance group The Young Canadians who faces several child sex abuse charges.

Philip Heerema will go on trial for sexual assault, luring and child porn-related offences.

The complainants were teenagers at the time of the alleged abuse — which dates back to 1997 — and were members of The Young Canadians.

In January 2014, a police investigation was launched after a student and his parents reported an inappropriate relationship. After the first complaint, others came forward.

Heerema — who is in his 50s — was with The Young Canadians for 36 years. He left the organization at the beginning of the investigation.

The Young Canadians works with students, training them in dance, vocals and performance. Every July, the group performs at the grandstand show during the Calgary Stampede.

Heerema worked in several areas with the group, including costuming, props, sets and lighting.

The trial is set to last four weeks. Heerema is currently on bail.



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