Iberville Parish authorities sharpened their focus Tuesday on slain Baton Rouge television and church personality Scott Rogers’ involvement with young boys.
Rogers’ 10-year-old adopted son and a 2-year-old boy he was attempting to adopt were removed from his St. Gabriel home Aug. 15 by the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services.
“I want to know who all was involved with helping (Rogers) … get his hands on any minors,” Iberville Parish Assistant District Attorney Tony Clayton said.
At the same time, Clayton said, allegations of Rogers’ sexual abuse of minor children in England have caused him to reconsider his plan to prosecute a comatose suspect for murder if the man survives.
That man is Mathew Hodgkinson, who Iberville Sheriff Brett Stassi says is believed to have shot Rogers in his St. Gabriel house before turning a handgun on himself. The sheriff said Hodgkinson remained comatose at a Baton Rouge hospital on Tuesday.
Hodgkinson has been identified by a former classmate at Rogers’ performing arts academy and school in England’s Suffolk County as one of several male children molested by Rogers more than two decades ago.
“It’s going to be hard to pursue murder charges with what the guy endured as a kid,” Clayton said. The prosecutor said authorities believe Rogers began sexually abusing the younger man when he was 14.
Rogers was shot to death at his St. Gabriel residence Aug. 27.
“I want to find out who all Rogers was able to get under his control,” Clayton said. “We’re looking at everyone who ever lived in that house.”
Hodgkinson’s former classmate said he and Hodgkinson and other boys from the academy and school performed in plays and dance shows in several European and Asian cities under Rogers’ direction. After those shows, he added, Rogers introduced them to adult pedophiles who sexually abused them.
That classmate, now 35, said he was first molested by Rogers when he was 13 years old. The classmate agreed to be interviewed Friday only if allowed to remain anonymous. He was in federal protective custody last week and was scheduled to testify before a federal grand jury when Rogers’ death ended the proceedings.
Both the classmate and Hodgkinson had lived with Rogers and the two young boys, the classmate said.
“They broke our happy, loving home,” Stassi quoted Hodgkinson from what the sheriff said was a suicide note found at the St. Gabriel residence. “They do not get to take Scott too.”
Rogers’ former pupil said he believes Hodgkinson ceased having sex with Rogers by 2004. He added, though, that Rogers persuaded his adult daughter, Kimberly Ann Scott-Rogers, to enter a sham marriage with Hodgkinson to prevent the man from being deported.
“I want to find out how old Mathew was when this so-called marriage to Rogers’ daughter took place,” Clayton said Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the federal investigation into Rogers’ life is at an end, U.S. Attorney Walt Green said Tuesday in Baton Rouge.
Seth Dornier, Rogers’ attorney, said last week that federal investigators were attempting to determine whether Rogers lied on naturalization and adoption records.
Rogers became a naturalized U.S. citizen after arriving in Baton Rouge around 2000, following a 4- or 5-year residency in the Dallas, Texas, area, according to his anonymous former pupil.
In Baton Rouge, Rogers hosted the “Around Town” television show from his studio in Cortana Mall.
For a time, Rogers was active in the Unity Church of Christianity, where he often preached, according to a church leader who declined to be named.
Eventually, Rogers left that church to form 13:34 Church of Christianity at Cortana Mall.
Rogers’ visibility on television and in church, along with his public appearances on behalf of charitable causes, gained him popularity in Baton Rouge.
Rogers was not popular when he left England for Texas around 1996, though.
That was after he was charged in the alleged sexual abuse of a child enrolled at his performance academy and school.
In 1996, Rogers was acquitted on that charge at a jury trial. The jury deadlocked on two counts of gross indecency with a child and three counts of indecent assault on a male.
When the boy and his family declined to go through a second trial, all remaining charges were dismissed.
The publicity of that case ruined Rogers’ academy and school, his former pupil said.
That’s when Rogers moved to Texas, he added. A few years later, Rogers and his two former students moved to Baton Rouge.
More than a year ago, a former student resumed complaints about Rogers in England. That’s when federal and state authorities began looking into Rogers’ activities in this country, his former pupil said.
Rogers began playing slot machines at a Baton Rouge casino. He had lost nearly $200,000 before his death, the former pupil said.