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$9.5M settlement in Stampede abuse class action lawsuit to be decided in June

A $9.5 million settlement in a class action lawsuit against the Calgary Exhibition and Stampede Limited, the Calgary Stampede Foundation and Young Canadians will be decided in June.

The class action alleged the organizations allowed a former staffer to sexually abuse young boys.

A lawyer from J.S.S. Barristers confirmed to Global News that they obtained approval of the content of a settlement notice in court on Tuesday and a settlement approval hearing is scheduled for June 28.

Calgary Exhibition and Stampede Limited, the Calgary Stampede Foundation and Young Canadians will provide counsel with a list of all known class members and the list will be used to complete the settlement, according to documents obtained by Global News.

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“The Stampede has unfortunately put the wrong notice on their X account – the settlement has not yet been approved,” said Carsten Jensen, a lawyer with J.S.S. Barristers.

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The class action is related to a case regarding 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.

The school is operated by the Calgary Stampede Foundation.

Heerema was granted day parole in February after a decision from the Parole Board of Canada in January.

–With files from Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press.

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