A RETIRED teacher has gone on trial accused of sexually assaulting two boys in the 1970s.

Gareth Rogers, 77, of Commercial Road, Newport taught history at the city’s Caerleon Comprehensive School, a jury was told.

Newport Crown Court heard he was known by pupils there by the nickname ‘Randy Rogers’.

Ieuan Bennett, prosecuting told them the defendant has previous convictions for sexually assaulting children, both boys and girls, that post-date these allegations.

Jurors have also heard evidence that girls at Caerleon Comprehensive School tried to raise a petition against him because it was claimed he was looking up their skirts on a stairwell.

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Rogers is accused of six counts – five of indecent assault and one of a serious sexual assault.

The defendant denies all the charges against him and has dismissed the two complainants as “liars and fantasists”.

The Recorder of Cardiff, Judge Tracey Lloyd-Clarke, told jurors in her legal directions to them: “The defendant’s previous convictions are set out in the agreed facts.

“The prosecution says that this is relevant in two ways.

“Firstly, the prosecution says that they show that the defendant has a tendency to commit offences of this type and so it is more likely that the defendant did sexually abuse (the two complainants) as alleged.

“The defence says that the previous convictions are not all the same.

“They say none of the previous convictions involved any penetration and so are different from the allegations in counts five and six and do not show that the defendant has a tendency to act as it is alleged.

“You have to decide whether these previous convictions show that the defendant has a tendency to behave in this way.”

Rogers, represented by Ruth Smith, puts forward the defence that the complainants are making up the allegations against him after hearing rumours about him on social media.

The judge told the jury: “The defendant claims that they have each separately concocted false accounts having learned about what was being said about the defendant on Facebook.

“I have already told you that you must consider each count separately.

“However, the prosecution relies on the similarities between the allegations made by (the two complainants).”

The trial continues.