Dance and Gymnastics Teacher jailed for numerous counts of indecent assault on children

November 25th, 2020

Popular and well-known in the local dance community, Neil Harris, 75, was jailed for 8 years in June 2020 for 25 offences of indecent assault on 10 girls and one boy between 1960s and 1990s.  Harris will remain on the sex offenders register for life.

For many decades, Harris abused his position as a dance and gymnastics teacher at his mother’s dance school to sexually assault and abuse his vulnerable victims.  Following his mother’s death, Harris took over the school.  For more than 50 years Harris taught at the Ann Harris School of Dance in Erdington and remained unchecked and unmonitored, mainly as he was often the only adult present, allowing him to abuse his position of trust and power.

Victims have told how Harris did not allow his pupils to wear underwear underneath their leotards and would use checking for underwear as a pretext to assault them.

Prior to this recent conviction, Harris was previously sentenced to five years in prison for indecently assaulting four girls in the 1970s and 1980s.

While there are currently no further ongoing proceedings, Det Con Thomas said she believed the true number of Harris’s victims could be much higher than currently known.