Young Canadians employee charged with sex assault of teen performers

WATCH ABOVE: The former administrator of the Young Canadians in now accused of sexually assaulting several teenage boys. Stefan Keyes has more.

CALGARY – Police have laid sex assault charges against a long-time employee with local performance group The Young Canadians.

Officers launched an investigation in January 2014 after receiving a complaint about a person of authority in the organization having an inappropriate relationship with a teenage performer.

The complaint was made by a man who said he was victimized in 1997.

Since receiving the initial complaint, the Calgary Police Service says seven alleged victims have come forward, all of whom are male and were between the ages of 15 and 18 at the time.

Philip Heerema, 52, was arrested by police on Thursday. He is facing a handful of charges, including:

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  • 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

WATCH: Staff Sergeant Melanie Oncescu speaks to the media about the arrest of a former employee with The Young Canadians.

Heerema held numerous positions within The Young Canadians for the 36 years he was with the organization.

“The relationship was such that he was able to have that access to them,” explained Staff Sergeant Melanie Oncescu with the Calgary Police Service Child Abuse Unit during a news conference.

He resigned from the Young Canadians at the beginning of the investigation.

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It’s alleged the offences occurred both on site and off site, and began as early as 1997.

Anyone with information on these incidents is asked to call the Calgary Police Service non-emergency line at 403-266-1234, or Crime Stoppers.

– With files from Jenna Freeman

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