October 2003

Town ‘honour’ for child porn councillor

A DISGRACED former school governor and town and district councillor, convicted of collecting child porn on his personal computer, has been offered honorary membership of a community association.

Grandfather, Keith Rogers from Birch Coppice, Droitwich, was fined £5,000 by Worcester Magistrates a fortnight ago after police found nearly 2,000 indecent images of children on his computer equipment.

The 66-year-old ex-governor of Westlands First School and Wychbold First School resigned as a Labour councillor in March, after the offences came to light.

Now, in a show of support, the Westlands Community Association in Droitwich has offered Rogers honorary membership.

The news, which emerged on Tuesday, has incensed one resident of Droitwich’s Meadow Court, Mr Earl. He is particularly angry that the backing for Rogers comes at a time when the group is planning to create a children’s kick-around area.

“I am appalled and disgusted at the way his friends and colleagues have made him out to be a pillar of the community”, Mr Earl said.

“He has been made to look like the victim and not the perpetrator.”

“It beggars belief that a man who was made to sign the sex offender register should be rewarded in this way. He may have been named, but he definitely has not been shamed.”

Andrew Christian-Brookes, a Wychavon District Councillor, said today: “What I find really distasteful is that a lot of people are treating Rogers as if he had done nothing wrong.

“I condemn the Westlands Community Association for offering this honorary membership. I think it sends the wrong message.

“Basically, they are saying you can view pornographic images and be rewarded”.

Westlands Community Association treasurer Carol Simmonds confirmed they recently sent Rogers a letter asking whether he was interested in honorary membership.

She said they were happy to offer their support at “such a difficult time”.

“Keith was the secretary of this community for two years until the beginning of 2003 and has dedicated a lot of time and hard work to community projects,” she said.”

“He was not the first and certainly will not be the last to do what he did and I would trust him with my life.

“He has been extremely supportive to us, in particular for the way he helped decorate the community hall.”

She added the honorary membership would entitle him to sit in meetings, but not to vote.

However, the proposal was still to be put forward as Rogers was yet to respond to the letter.

Droitwich and Wychavon councillor Peter Pinfield (Lab-East) said after Rogers’ conviction: “I and colleagues have known the family for more than 30 years and they will continue to have our support at this very difficult time.

“I do not condone his actions, but we all have tragic events in our life where things go wrong,” Coun Pinfield added.