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Bury St Edmunds: Dance teacher turned TV host shot dead in US

PUBLISHED: 09:31 30 August 2014 | UPDATED: 09:35 30 August 2014

Former Bury St Edmunds dance school principal Richard Scott Rogers

Former Bury St Edmunds dance school principal Richard Scott Rogers

Exclusive strictly copyright Andy Abbott

A controversial west Suffolk dance teacher turned TV host has been shot dead in his US home in a suspected murder-suicide.

The body of Scott Rogers, 52, formerly known as Richard Scott-Rogers, a principal of the former Academy of Dancing and Performing Arts, in Fornham Road, Bury St Edmunds, was found on Wednesday afternoon.

Investigators say they believe Rogers’ son-in-law Mathew Hodgkinson, who also used to live in Bury, fired the fatal shot before turning the gun on himself.

Mr Hodgkinson, 36, was rushed to Our Lady of the Lake Hospital where he was last night said to be in a critical condition.

Speaking from the crime scene Brett Stassi, Sheriff of Iberville Parish, said there was “some evidence” to suggest the shooting “is a murder-suicide.”

Shock caused by the incident intensified yesterday following allegations from two men that Mr Rogers had abused both of them when they were young boys.

Speaking anonymously on a US radio show, one of the alleged victims said he had met Mr Rogers at his dance studio when he was 12 years old and had been abused from the age of 13.

“This began when I was 13 and increased in frequency all the way until I was 18,” he added.

A second alleged victim said he met Mr Rogers when he was 11. He told the radio host: “He is a master manipulator, he is an expert at brainwashing. He is the worst predatory paedophile that you can imagine.

“He was a monster that I felt was trying to destroy me. I often, often, often feared for my life. There were often situations where I was strangled into unconsciousness.”

Mr Rogers role at the Academy of Dancing and Performing Arts came under scrutiny in the mid 1990s when Suffolk County Council alerted parents about the studio’s “unhealthy atmosphere” similar to “a religious or supposedly religious cult.”

He had also defended his decision to allow children to stay overnight at his home with their parents’ consent.

Although Mr Rogers past was not known in the US prior to the shooting, it has since emerged that he was in the midst of a legal battle with a Grand Jury hearing under way.

Seth Dornier, Mr Rogers’ lawyer, said yesterday that the issues were “private, family matters”

Tony Clayton, from Iberville District Attorney’s Office, said Mr Hodgkinson is “a suspect as a relation to the murder” and that a deputy is stationed outside his hospital bedroom should he wake up.

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