Calgary police have arrested a 52-year-old man, formerly with The Young Canadians, in connection with a number of sex assaults involving children.

Police received a complaint about an inappropriate relationship between a person of authority with The Young Canadians performance group and a teenager in January 2014. The student and his parents brought their concerns to police and investigators say the allegations go back to 1997.

The investigation was expanded and police say several victims with the performance group then came forward.

“The investigation began with one victim coming forward initially and as our investigators conducted their interviews more people were identified and being spoken to and then as a result, seven victims to date,” said Staff Sergeant Melanie Oncescu with the Calgary Police Service Child Abuse Unit.

The seven victims were between the ages of 15 and 18 at the time of the incidents and police say all were males.

Philip Heerema, 52, of Calgary, was arrested on Thursday and is charged with:

  • Three counts of child pornography
  • Two counts of sexual assault
  • Six counts of child luring via computer
  • Two counts of inciting sexual contact with a youth by a person in authority

Police say Heerema was with The Young Canadians for 36 years in a variety of positions and that he resigned from the performance group at the beginning of the investigation.

“He was in a position of authority so whether he’s be a coach or someone within management within the organization, he was put in a position of trust with the performers,” said Onescu. “I’m not sure of his last position. He took on many roles within the organization and held many at the time of his resignation.”

Heerema appeared in court on Friday morning.

Anyone with information on these incidents is asked to call the Calgary Police Service non-emergency line at 403-266-1234, or Crime Stoppers anonymously using any of the following methods:

TALK: 1-800-222-8477
TEXT: tttTIPS to 274637