Pensioner spared jail over Facebook shame

Derek Rogerson
Derek Rogerson
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The parents of two schoolgirls today spoke of the betrayal and anger they felt after discovering a 74-year-old teaching volunteer had sent their daughters pornographic poems and stories.

Derek Rogerson, 74, admitted sending the emails to the girls after volunteering to help teach literacy at a Lancashire school.

He was given an eight-week prison sentence, suspended for two years, at Preston Magistrates’ Court on Monday.

At a previous hearing he pleaded guilty to five counts of sending offensive, obscene, indecent or menacing messages, to two girls.

The mother of one of the girls, who cannot be named to protect her daughter’s identity, said: “I think he should have been jailed. (The magistrate) was limited with what she could do. I was happy they took it seriously. I think justice has been done and they have certainly seen it as it is.

“Hopefully it will stop him doing it to any other children. We were lucky it got stopped.”

Rogerson, of Greystock Close, Bamber Bridge, a keen writer, taught two groups of children and befriended a number of them via Facebook.

Speaking of discovering the messages, which were laden with innuendo and sexual reference, the girl’s mother said: “You are upset, angry, you feel sick, your stomach churns, horrendous. At least now he has realised how severe it is and what can happen to you.”

Speaking of how it has affected her daughter, she said: “She was angry, very angry.

“They did not really understand. They wouldn’t anyway, he was in a position of trust.”

The father of the other girl said: “The courts have done their job and have given a sentence they think appropriate. I think I will always be wary of other people now.

“I would not put my trust in somebody as easily because, more than anything, I just feel betrayed.”

Keith Kirkham, prosecuting, told the court: “Mr Rogerson has been sending the girls inappropriate material.

“There can only be one interpretation of it, that of a sexual nature, no shadow of a doubt.”

Philip Barlow, defending, said Rogerson had pleaded guilty at the first opportunity and added: “These matters have had a dramatic effect on his health and the health of his wife.”

During sentencing, magistrate Christine Hudson said: “You were in a position of trust, several messages have been sent to two vulnerable girls.

“These messages were offensive, indecent and obscene.

“We consider that you knew exactly what you were doing because you asked that some of those messages would be erased.

“This offence has shown that you are prepared to take a high degree of risk which has caused us great concern.”

Mr Rogerson, who volunteered at the school for two years, said after sentencing: “There is no doubt that I was wrong to send the messages that I did to the two girls, an act for which I am truly sorry.

“I have now received my punishment and wish to offer my unreserved apologies to all who have been affected by my actions.”