Following his death, parents have revealed how they suffered at the hands of Scott Rogers’ ‘mental conditioning’ of pupils.
Speaking to the Bury Free Press under anonymity, one parent told how the performing arts teacher, who founded the former Academy of Dancing and Performing Arts, in Fornham Road, Bury, managed to keep her estranged from her daughter for about six months.
In one instance he even persuaded the youngster to falsely report her to social services for physical abuse. After she was investigated by social services, her daughter later admitted it was a lie.
She said: “He was a bully and manipulator. He sat her down and they did role play so that he was the social worker interviewing her and telling her what to say until she was word perfect.
“I used to get phone calls in the middle of the night. He used to get her to phone me saying ‘you will never see me again’ if I didn’t do what he wanted me to do. He wanted to get a passport to take her out of the country – I wouldn’t do it.”
The parent remembers how she once attempted to take her daughter away from the academy. However, her attempt was thwarted after Rogers got the youngster to escape through the attic and into the nearby railway station where a car was waiting to take her to an unknown destination.
She said: “He was in control and you couldn’t get through to your own children - many parents were like that. Some went down and actually physically attacked him. It was an absolute nightmare.
“He used to threaten any parent – if they disagreed he would say he would get them (their children) taken away. Parents were in fear of him.”
She remembers Mathew Hodgkinson, who she says was ‘such a dear, sweet boy’. The parent added: “My heart goes out to him.”
She eventually took her daughter out of the school.
The parent said: “When she saw the news she’s been knocked sideways. She’s just so worried because she can’t remember that time at all. She thinks she’s suppressed everything – with all this coming out she’s feeling really quite vulnerable.”
On Rogers’ death, the parent said: “The world’s a better place without him.”
Another parent drew parallels to the Jimmy Savile scandal.
They said: “These are the messages/the stories you hear from everybody involved with him. His experiences are a much bigger scale of course but the principle of his ability to do what he did are exactly the same.”
They felt Rogers used exhilaration of performance to draw in his victims.
“When you’re behind the curtain as a young or even older person, if you have this amazing wow experience at the front of curtain on the stage then that is an extremely powerful weapon for an abuser to use to achieve whatever he wants to do.”
Another parent of a former pupil said: “He was never a very nice person. He did a lot of things which hurt a lot of people. His only interest was ever himself. I can’t say I will shed a tear at his passing.”
The parent said they ‘felt very sorry for Mathew’.
A former school teacher, who wishes to remain anonymous, says Rogers’ influence even had an effect on academic classrooms.
The teacher remembers: “If it suited his purposes he alienated ‘his’ dance students from their parents and teachers, usurping their normal powers. He was personable enough face to face but he did most of his work behind the scenes or via his acolytes so he was rarely available to talk to, question or remonstrate with.”
He said Rogers ‘often’ supported his students in challenging coursework marks in an attempt to raise them.
Rogers also tried to stop students doing some aspects of PE in case they were injured and needed time off dance.
The teacher added: “As he got bolder he started to usurp parents at parents’ evenings and he sent his senior acolytes in their place.
“Most annoying of all to me, he managed to get his students’ permission to do work experience at the dance studio when it was quite clear to any normal person that they needed to be trying their hand in the outside world as they already spent most of their spare time at the studio.”
n On Thursday, Suffolk Police said they had received ‘a handful of calls’ from people alleging they were sexually abused by Rogers. Detectives would now contact these individuals to see if they wished to disclose further information.