Former Cornard dance tutor shot dead

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Latest news from the Suffolk Free Press,, @sfpsudbury on Twitter

A former performing arts teacher who taught classes in Great Cornard and was accused of sexually abusing one of his pupils and created a controversial school likened to a ‘religious cult’ has been shot dead at his USA home.

Scott Rogers, 52, formerly known as Richard Scott-Rogers, is said by police to have been killed by his son-in-law and one of his former pupils Mathew Hodgkinson at his home in Louisiana on Wednesday.

It is understood that Mr Hodgkinson then turned the gun on himself but was rushed to hospital where as of last night he remains in a coma on life support, according to Brett Stassi, Sheriff of Iberville Parish.

Mr Rogers, who had become a TV star and hosted his own show in Baton Rouge, founded and was a principal of the former Academy of Dancing and Performing Arts, in Fornham Road, Bury St Edmunds, which in 1995 was likened to a religious cult by Suffolk County Council (SCC) bosses who warned parents of the ‘perceived risk’ of sending children to the school.

SCC voiced concerns about ‘a senior member’ of the academy - later identified as Mr Rogers - following a High Court case in 1993.

They highlighted an ‘unhealthy atmosphere at the academy and an environment in which some pupils moved their allegiance from their parents to that senior member and the academy’.

The council felt the ‘situation was reminiscent of those cases in which parents sought to extricate a child from the influence of a religious or supposedly religious cult’.

There was ‘also considerable anxiety felt as to levels of intimacy that existed’ between Mr Rogers and pupils.

In a separate case in 1993, he was acquitted at the Inner London Crown Court of committing an unnatural act on a 13-year-old boy.

In the 90s Mr Rogers ran classes at schools across Suffolk including at Great Cornard Middle.

At the time former students recalled ‘sleep-overs’ with young children at his house when the then principal cuddled them.