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Former Young Canadian cross-examined during Philip Heerema sex abuse trial: ‘I was a scared 16-year-old boy’

A trial is underway for Philip Heerema, a former long-time employee of the Calgary Stampede's performance group, The Young Canadians. Global News

A former Young Canadian alleging abuse by Philip Heerema admitted Wednesday he withheld some information from investigators during his initial disclosure.

The witness is the second of eight young men to testify in the sexual abuse trial for Heerema, who was a former long-time employee of the Calgary Stampede’s performance group, The Young Canadians.

Heerema, 55, has pleaded not guilty to 20 criminal charges, which include sexual assault and making child pornography.

The former Young Canadian, whose identity is protected by a court-imposed publication ban, testified Tuesday Heerema asked to exchange explicit photos.

But under cross-examination Wednesday, he admitted he asked for photos of Heerema in return for sending his nude photo.

READ MORE: Former Young Canadian testifies against alleged abuser Philip Heerema

Defence lawyer Allan Fay suggested several instances where the complainant didn’t tell the whole truth.

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The former Young Canadian admitted he only spoke of the explicit photo exchange during a meeting with the Crown prior to the preliminary inquiry—months after his interview with police, and long after he had deleted the photos.

“I was a scared 16-year-old boy…and didn’t know what I was doing,” he said under cross-examination by Fay.

“I didn’t have good insight into any potential consequences of not telling the whole—not giving all the information of when I was 16.”

READ MORE: Lawsuit claims Calgary Stampede had prior knowledge of alleged sexual abuse in The Young Canadians

He also admitted he hadn’t told his parents about the photos.

“I would characterize my state of mind at the time as being in denial about the whole situation…and by deleting those pictures I would never have to think about it again and it didn’t actually happen,” he said.

“I felt like I was in survival mode, and if anyone found out about it I would be destroyed, so I was keeping it to myself.”

Watch below from Jan. 16: The first of eight people named in a sex abuse case involving ex-Young Canadian Philip Heerema testified in Calgary court Tuesday. Nancy Hixt explains the allegations.

Click to play video: 'First victim testifies at sex abuse trial of ex-Young Canadian Philip Heerema' First victim testifies at sex abuse trial of ex-Young Canadian Philip Heerema
First victim testifies at sex abuse trial of ex-Young Canadian Philip Heerema – Jan 16, 2018

Fay also suggested the exchange of pictures was “two friends on the internet exchanging naked pictures.”

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But the witness maintained it was not two friends, but rather an employee of The Young Canadians and a student in The Young Canadians.

READ MORE: ‘I feel like a monster,’ ex-Young Canadian Philip Heerema told investigator in videotaped interview

The trial is scheduled for three weeks.

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