A dance teacher has been found guilty of sexually abusing pupils at the Birmingham school where he taught for almost 60 years.
Elderly Neil Harris, of Manta Road, Tamworth, taught at the Erdington dance studio from 1957 until this year.
Police have praised the ‘bravery and courage’ of victims in coming forward – following the 72-year-old’s conviction at Birmingham Crown Court on Thursday (November 30).
He was investigated after a woman came forward in 2015.
The woman. who was taught by Harris from 1983 for a number of years, carried out a Google search and identified the 72-year-old as still being an active teacher.
Due to concerns following her own experiences, she contacted police.
She told them that on several occasions, when she was aged between nine and 13, Harris had sexually touched her.
The investigation identified further victims and more allegations of inappropriate touching and abuse followed.
He was charged with 21 counts of indecent assault on seven children in March this year.
And after a three-week trial, he was found guilty of seven accounts of indecent assault on four girls between the 1970s and 1980s.
Directors of the UTD, the association the school has belonged to for many years, said: “We are saddened to hear of the abuse some of our former pupils endured over the years as part of this school.
“We are supportive of anyone that wants to report anything of concern against Harris and are working with the police to make sure appropriate support is provided.”
Leading the investigation, DC Nichola Thomas from West Midlands Police’s Public Protection Team said: “The bravery and courage of the individuals in coming forward is admirable and I am so very thankful to those who have reported their experiences to us.
“I would like to reassure anyone who has been through anything similar or feels someone of authority may have acted inappropriately towards them in the past, that we will investigate and prosecute those responsible.
“I would urge anyone who has ever thought about speaking to police about sexual abuse, to come forward. We are here to help you.
“If you want to speak to me about this case in particular, please don’t hesitate to contact me on 101 ext 845 6170.”
Harris is due to be sentenced on January 19 at Birmingham Crown Court.
Survivors of sexual abuse can also speak to the NSPCC 24 hours a day on 0808 800 5000.