The sentencing hearing for a man who pleaded guilty to more than a dozen charges in connection to a sexual abuse case involving underage girls got underway in a Calgary courtroom on Tuesday.

Christian Sarile, 29, was charged after the family of a 14-year-old girl contacted police in December of 2016 over concerns that the girl was meeting with a man in his 20s.

An investigation was launched and additional victims were identified by police.

Sarile was charged with 49 offences including; sexual assault, sexual interference, accessing child pornography, distributing child pornography, luring and extortion.

All of the victims were between the ages of 12 and 17 and were from the Calgary area.

Sarile pleaded guilty to 17 charges earlier this month.

A sentencing hearing for Sarile started on Tuesday with victim impact statements.

The Crown read several statements that talked about the hurt and anger that was felt by the victims.

One victim cried as she read her statement to the court saying that it never occurred to her that someone could abuse their power like that.

“The loss of trust in my teacher affected my ability to get help,” she said.

Sarile looked down as the statements were read, occasionally glancing at his family who were in court for the proceedings.

Dr. Sarah MacDonald is a forensic psychologist at the Calgary & Area Child Advocacy Centre and says the case is alarming but that the best thing parents can do to protect their children is to talk to them about online safety.

“The internet has completely changed the way that perpetrators have access to teenagers and specifically, kids are friending and befriending complete strangers and so when kids are making decisions about who they should be interacting with on social media, they should be asking themselves questions like, do I actually know who this person is?” said MacDonald.

Sentencing submissions are expected to start at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday.