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Bury St Edmunds/US: The dark secrets beneath the veneer of Scott Rogers’ respectability

15:23 04 September 2014

Scott Rogers on his American TV show. Source: WAFB

Scott Rogers on his American TV show. Source: WAFB

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The disturbing double-life of ex-Suffolk dance teacher Scott Rogers has been exposed following an apparent suicide pact in the United States.

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Behind the wholesome veil of a community-loving, charity-supporting US local TV talk show host former Suffolk dance teacher Scott Rogers hid a dark secret.

For years behind closed doors the 52-year-old lived an obsessively ordered lifestyle and is said to have abused two former pupils of his Bury St Edmunds arts’ school.

Outwardly a supporter of good causes through his Louisiana show Around Town, a different picture has rapidly emerged since he was shot dead in his bed at his home in St Gabriel, near Baton Rouge, last Wednesday.

The suspected shooter, his live-in son-in-law Mathew Hodgkinson, is said to have been besotted with Rogers who was known as Richard-Scott Rogers when he faced controversial religious-cult style allegations about the Academy of Dancing and Performing Arts in Bury St Edmunds in 1995.

It followed an acquittal after a trial in 1993 over child molestation allegations involving a 13-year-old pupil at the school. It appears in December 1995 Mr Rogers left for the US. Records show he arrived in Dallas, Texas, in 1996, before moving to Louisiana in 2000, becoming a US citizen in 2009.

On August 15 this year his life began to unravel when federal agents discovered he had lied on his immigration forms, claiming he had never been arrested.

With his status in the US in jeopardy the control he exerted over every facet of his life, and the lives of the two men he lived with, began to slip from his grasp.

Now his daughter 29-year-old Kimberly-Ann, said to be married Mr Hodgkinson, 36, faces questions over her immigration status.

One report in the US has described her as a ‘wreck’ following her father’s death.

In addition the focus of the police investigation has shifted to Mr Rogers’ life away from the camera.

Mr Hodgkinson is fighting for life in Our Lady of the Lake Hospital, although his prospects of recovery were described as “grim” earlier this week by Iberville Parish sheriff Brett Stassi.

Should Mr Hodgkinson recover Iberville Parish assistant district attorney Tony Clayton appears to have ruled out a murder prosecution.

Mr Hodgkinson appears to have left a note stating the family’s life had been destroyed by the immigration investigation unmasking Mr Rogers’ past in England.

According to sheriff Stassi, prior to the shootings their home had been left in immaculate condition behind the barricaded doors – another sign of Mr Rogers carefully constructed dual persona.

The sheriff said: “They (the men who lived with Mr Rogers) didn’t have the greatest of lives living with him.

“He was a tough ruler. They had deadlines and they had consequences if they were late.

“He ran a tight ship. He was very controlling.

“When the cameras were off, a different person stepped out from behind the lights.”

Mr Rogers – whose dog Wobble featured in some of shows – was known for promoting all that was good in the community. He used his Around Town show, which the two men worked on, as a vehicle to spotlight good works and his religious beliefs.

He was a master of ceremonies at many events and gained celebrity status. He was said to have been a chaplain to a sheriff’s department.

Mr Rogers had been involved in fundraising at the Unity Church of Christianity, where he preached so often that he became a “quasi-minister”, according to one church leader. He then established a ministry of his own called the 13:34 Church of Christianity – the numbers refer to the verse in the Gospel of John in which Jesus commands his disciples to love each other.

In 2012 and 2013 he was also a high-profile supporter of Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, a men’s march in high-heeled shoes aimed at fundraising for a charity campaigning for the end of rape, domestic violence, and sexual abuse.

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