Thu. Jul 18th, 2024

Convicted sex offender Philip Heerema wants his lifetime internet ban softened so he can go online for the purpose of seeking employment.

Heerema appeared in Calgary Court of King’s Bench on Friday in connection with an application filed by him asking for an amendment to his court-ordered ban.

Crown prosecutor Martha O’Connor asked for a one-week adjournment while she reviews Heerema’s application and determines her position.

Heerema is currently on parole from a 10-year penitentiary term he was handed in 2018 in connection with his convictions for sexual assault, sexual exploitation, making child pornography and luring.

He pleaded guilty to those charges and admitted he used his position with the Young Canadians School of Performing Arts, which performs annually at the Calgary Stampede Grandstand Show, to lure and groom six boys into sexual relationships between 2005 and 2014, as well as in 1992.

The Stampede has agreed to pay $9.5 million in damages in connection with a lawsuit filed in relation to his case.

Heerema agreed to plead guilty after five of his victims testified at his trial.

Justice Larry Ackerl, who accepted a joint Crown and defence submission for a 10-year prison term, said those victims showed “eloquence and courage” in testifying at both his trial and preliminary inquiry.

The judge, who will be required to hear Heerema’s application to vary his online prohibition, found the offender “betrayed the trust” of his victims over a two-decade period, during which he took advantage of his position as business administrator with the dance troupe to groom the young boys.

“His calculated conduct was morally despicable and ultimately criminal,” Ackerl said.

But the mom of one of the victims, who spoke after the sentencing, said the judge should have gone farther in admonishing the offender.

“He had an opportunity to say in words that he was a monster,” she said.

— With files from The Canadian Press

KMartin@postmedia.com

X: @KMartinCourts

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