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Police have not reopened an investigation into the man convicted of sexually exploitive acts involving boys who were members of the Calgary Stampede’s Young Canadians song-and-dance troupe, despite the offender admitting there are more victims.

Philip Heerema, on Jan. 19, was granted day parole after serving more than half of his 10-year sentence. At his parole board hearing, he confirmed he abused additional boys and said if they came forward, he would go to court to face the consequences.

Further, The Globe and Mail in June reported on a class-action lawsuit that alleges Mr. Heerema’s abuse spanned decades and involved far more victims than police initially uncovered. Court documents tied to the lawsuit include affidavits outlining allegations of abuse that were not part of the original trial.

But Calgary Police Service, in a statement, said it is not investigating Mr. Heerema further because no new victims have reached out.

“The Calgary Police Service Child Abuse Unit has not received any new reports from additional victims connected to this case, and as such, there is no new investigation underway,” the police service said in a statement earlier this week. “As is standard procedure when any new reports are made, they will be thoroughly investigated.”

The police statement said there is no statute of limitations on criminal sexual offences in Canada, and encouraged potential victims of serious crimes to report incidents, even if years have gone by.

Dale Fedorchuk, a Calgary lawyer with experience defending people accused of sex offences, said the police service is justified in its approach. Police need victims to come forward with allegations to ignite such investigations, he said.

“If they don’t come forward and make an allegation, you don’t have a witness with which to prosecute a case,” he said.

The police, he said, cannot use affidavits filed in a civil suit as the basis for charges against someone. Investigators, however, could reach out to the people who submitted or are mentioned in the court documents and ask whether they want to make a statement, Mr. Fedorchuk said.

“But inevitably, they would have to speak to the person who allegedly had been assaulted and get a statement before they could further that investigation with an arrest,” he said.

Some victims are not comfortable speaking to police, because it may mean reliving a traumatic event or they do not trust officers or the criminal justice system. It is also possible victims do not want to subject themselves to examination and cross-examination at trial, Mr. Fedorchuk added. “Perhaps as part of their healing process, it would be better for them if they didn’t pursue that avenue. It is difficult to say.”

Mr. Heerema in 2018 was sentenced to 10 years in prison for sexually exploitive acts related to six members of the Young Canadians. At a parole hearing in British Columbia on Jan. 19, Mr. Heerema expressed remorse.

The parole board asked him whether there are more victims.

“I believe there probably are more victims,” Mr. Heerema said. After prodding from a panel member, he added: “I know that there are.”

Mr. Heerema said if more victims come forward, he will take responsibility. “I would go to court immediately and make amends for what I have done.”

At the hearing, Mr. Heerema was described as having excellent institutional behaviour and being a moderate risk to reoffend. His team recommended he be granted day parole with conditions.

The Young Canadians star in the Calgary Stampede’s evening Grandstand Show. Mr. Heerema, once a Young Canadian himself, volunteered and worked with the group between 1986 and his resignation in early 2014. He was convicted for incidents that took place between 1992 and 2014.

The class action lawsuit was launched in 2017 and alleges Mr. Heerema’s abusive behaviour could stretch back to 1987. Lawyers who filed the lawsuit have said there are about two or three dozen people whom Mr. Heerema allegedly sexually exploited.

The lawsuit is aimed at the Calgary Stampede and alleges the organization did not adequately respond to reports that an adult working for the organization had inappropriate relationships with underage boys in the Young Canadians. This, the lawsuit alleges, allowed Mr. Heerema to abuse children for decades.

The Calgary Stampede and the lawyers pursuing the lawsuit are negotiating a settlement, said the class action lawyer Gavin Price and Stampede spokesman Jason Coxford.

Mr. Price declined to comment when asked whether any alleged victims in the class action lawsuit reached out to police. Mr. Coxford declined to comment further. Mr. Heerema’s lawyer did not respond to a message seeking comment.

With a report from The Canadian Press

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