Lying King: Inside Slain TV Personality Scott Rogers’ Dark, Twisted World
The Englishman and accused pedophile was fatally shot in Louisiana after his secrets began to unravel.
LYING KING: THE SCOTT ROGERS STORY PREMIERES TONIGHT AT 9/8C ON ID
Investigators unraveled a disturbing mystery spanning the globe when an English-born TV host starring on a popular show in Louisiana was killed by his new son-in-law, who then turned the gun on himself.
On Aug. 27, 2014, police discovered Scott Rogers, 52, fatally shot in bed at his St. Gabriel home. Nearby lay Mathew Hodgkinson, 36, unconscious and also suffering a gunshot wound. Investigators theorized Hodgkinson had fired a single bullet into Rogers’ head and then attempted to take his own life. He died at the hospital over a week later.
Iberville Parish Sheriff Brett Stassi believed Rogers, who had immigrated to the U.S. from Britain almost two decades before his death, was responsible for his own fate. “What Scott had run away from in the U.K. was coming back to bite him in the butt in the United States,” he told People at the time.
In the 1980s, the charismatic Rogers founded and operated Academy of Dancing and Performing Arts, a school in England’s Suffolk County. By the early ‘90s, the Englishman was setting off alarm bells among both parents of his students and local authorities.
In 1992, Rogers was arrested for committing an unnatural act on a 13-year-old child. The following year, he was acquitted of the crime and a jury failed to reach a verdict on multiple other charges, including gross indecency with a child and indecent assault on a male, the BBC reported.
However, the damage was done, and attendance at the school plummeted amid continued allegations of sexual misconduct and claims Rogers had created an unhealthy cult-like environment for his students.
In 1996, Rogers attempted to leave scandal behind. He fled the United Kingdom, settled in Texas and applied for United States citizenship. Two of Rogers’ former teenaged students, Mathew Hodgkinson and a man authorities have only identified as “Stewart” to protect his privacy, eventually joined their ex-teacher in the Dallas area.
Stewart, now 41, told Baton Rouge’s The Advocate in 2014 that he and Hodgkinson had fallen prey to Rogers as children. He claimed Rogers began molesting him and Hodgkinson in England when they were just 12 and 13.
“My parents were appreciative of Scott, proud of me and what I was achieving,” he said of attending Rogers’ school. “They were oblivious to everything. By the time I was 16, they could have brought the army, and I would not have left Scott.”
“I think Mathew and I have been his puppets for many years,” Stewart added of not knowing how to escape Rogers’ control and deciding to travel to America to be near him.
In 2000, Rogers, Stewart and Hodgkinson moved together from Texas to Louisiana. Rogers ingratiated himself with the tightknit Baton Rouge community by becoming host of the city’s popular WAFB weekend program Around Town.
Rogers eventually also adopted a son and fostered a male toddler. In his interview with The Advocate, Stewart insisted Rogers never molested either of the boys. “Those children were never touched,” he said. “I was thinking, ‘If ever Scott touched those kids, I’d kill him.’”
In 2013, Rogers, now a legal alien resident of the U.S., orchestrated what Iberville Parish authorities alleged was the sham marriage between his daughter, Kimberly Ann Scott-Rogers, now 35, and Hodgkinson, so his former student could stay in the country.
The following year, Rogers’ carefully reconstructed life in the U.S. came crashing down around him. Acting on a tip, authorities began taking a closer look at his fraudulent citizenship, adoption and foster-care applications, the Associated Press reported.
In the summer of 2014, the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services removed Rogers’ then-10-year-old adopted son and 2-year-old foster boy from the home, and the ensuing custody battle over the older child brought to light Rogers’ dark past, including the child-molestation accusations in England.
“The whole thing was ratcheting upward as news [of Rogers’s past] kept getting tighter and tighter every day,” Sheriff Stassi told People.
The end for Rogers came that August, when he, his daughter, Kimberly Scott-Rogers, new son-in-law, Hodgkinson, and Stewart were all scheduled to testify before a grand jury.
“We know they’d had a meeting earlier in the week where [Rogers] said, ‘Maybe we ought to all go lay down and shoot ourselves.’ Stewart decided it was time to go [get out of the situation],” Stassi said.
On Aug. 27, Stewart and Scott-Rogers were at the courthouse to testify in the fraud investigation when authorities received a 911 call to report hearing gunshots at Rogers’ home.
“We think that some time that morning, [Hodgkinson and Rogers] prayed together a little bit, then they decided that when the grand jury finished hearing testimony, the jig was going to be up for them,” Stassi said.
“I think Scott had control over Mathew enough to have him pull the trigger on him, then turn it on himself,” the sheriff said. “That’s the kind of relationship they had.”
Investigators found a note Hodgkinson reportedly wrote before the shootings. “They broke our happy loving home. They do not get to take Scott too,” the message read.
“I think Scott Rogers is a coward,” Stewart said of his former teacher. “I don’t think Scott could pull the trigger. I think he got Mathew to do the job. That was his last manipulation.”