A choirmaster and tutor who sexually abused two young boys has had his bid for freedom rejected. 

Thomas Rodgers was in his late teens when he sexually abused two boys who were aged between five and 11. 

Rodgers went on to teach in schools, led the Hornchurch Can’t Sing Choir and privately tutor piano and flute.   

After the two victims came forward Rodgers, now 44, of Balmoral Close in Billericay, was found guilty of indecent assault and two counts of indecency with a child - he was jailed for two years.

Rodgers later launched an application to appeal his sentence, arguing that it should have been suspended, but on Thursday (May 16) the Court of Appeal refused his application.

One of Rodgers' victims told the Recorder this was the right decision, describing the appeal as "sheer arrogance".

"The everlasting pain inflicted on us as victims is apparent and the fact you are unable to do one year custodial sentence shows what a person you are in complete denial," he said.

"Do your time and reflect on your crimes."


The younger victim was between five and eight when he was sexually abused by Rodgers at least four times, Snaresbrook Crown Court was told at Rodgers' initial sentencing hearing.

He said Rodgers is a monster, adding: “He robbed me of the innocence and joy of my youth and adulthood.” 

He described how he had hidden what had happened to him out of shame and fear.  

Later he downplayed or trivialised the abuse to cope with the trauma.  

“It took me until the age of 25 to disclose the abuse to anyone because of the fear and embarrassment of being ostracised,” he said. 

The older victim told Rodgers the trauma he had inflicted had left him with depression, post traumatic stress disorder and suicidal thoughts.  

One of his victims said: “My earliest childhood memory is seared into my mind. Being forced into a bathroom with Thomas Rodgers and being forced to perform unspeakable acts.” 

 "I hope your family are happy and proud of what a monster you are," he told Rodgers. 

“I’m proud I’ve come forward. I’m proud I’m surviving here today. And I’m proud that nobody will ever have to go through what I went through with you.” 

'Unfortunate history of the case'

On January 22 this year Rodgers was jailed for four years, but a week later his sentence was cut in half due to a courtroom error. 

Because he was a youth at the time of his offending – albeit significantly older than his victim – the maximum sentence he could receive was two years. 

Judge Louise Kamill said that, had the offences taken place after law changes, Rodgers would have been charged with rape of a child under 13, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.   

Rodgers then appealed against this two-year prison sentence, arguing that Judge Kamill had not taken into consideration his mitigation and had not considered whether to give him a suspended sentence. 

On Thursday, Rodgers appeared at the Royal Courts of Justice by video link from HMP Highdown. 

Greg Foxsmith, representing Rodgers, cited his age at the time of offending, the length of time he was under investigation, his loss of reputation and his good character as reasons why he should have been sentenced to less than two years. 

He also argued that the sentence should have been suspended because Rodgers poses no risk of further offending. 

But Lord Justice Dingemans, Mr Justice Wall and Judge De Bertodano refused the application to appeal his sentence. 

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Giving their judgement, Mr Justice Wall said it was a case with an "unfortunate history".

Mr Justice Wall accepted that Rodgers has strong mitigation in his good character, charity work and lack of further offending. 

But he said: “We also have in mind that he was being sentenced for three offences and there there were two young victims of his behaviour, each of whom has suffered enormously.” 

He concluded: “Appropriate punishment for these crimes can only be achieved by immediate custody, and this factor outweighs other factors in the case.” 

After the hearing, one of Rodgers' victims said: "I'm glad the appeal was rightfully refused; the correct decision was made today, and there is no place or lenience for individuals like this.

"I hope this outcome reassures others that justice can prevail and the right decisions can be made. If anyone has been affected, I encourage them to come forward, no matter the timeframe." 

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