From dance teacher to sexual predator, how one man's dark secret was discovered
On a September afternoon in 2006, a young dancer at popular Sydney studio RG Dance was overheard on the phone to a friend calling director Grant Davies a paedophile.
The then 14-year-old was stopped by a teacher and asked why she had said that about Davies - the charismatic, larger than life figure, who ran his Chiswick studio in the city's inner-west like a fiefdom.
The student said Davies had been sending inappropriate messages to two of her friends.
Davies had told the girls in the messages of dreams he had had where they had all slept together and on other occasions had told the teenagers he couldn't sleep unless they told him they loved him.
The teacher and the girls went to police and Davies was investigated but never charged. Police said that was because parents were reluctant to have their children testify at a trial.
The allegations were dismissed at the time by Davies and parents of students were told at a specially convened meeting it was all a misunderstanding.
The girls and the teacher who raised the concerns left the school.
Now nine years later, Davies, 41, admitted in the Sydney Downing Centre District Court on Monday to 28 child sex offences, his nine victims aged between nine and 14, including one female student he raped seven times.
The offences date back to 2001 and some charges relate to the allegations raised by the girls in 2006.
Others relate to victims he was able to groom and abuse in the nine years since those allegations were made.
Tracie-Marie Seipel, the teacher who went with the girls to police, said she felt sick when Davies was not charged nine years ago.
"The ramifications for those girls who came forward in 2006, nine years of being labelled a liar, of not being believed, of having trouble finding work because they were trouble makers," she said.
"Me included, I was a troublemaker, not a whistleblower, it's had a huge impact on all of our lives."
She said Monday's decision had brought some relief.
"I do question if he's pleaded guilty because he's actually remorseful or if he just had no other option," Ms Seipel said.
Wearing a blue open-necked shirt and a black coat, his hair cropped short, Davies pleaded guilty to charges including sexual intercourse with a child without consent, indecent assault and the production of child abuse material.
Parents of former students at the now defunct RG Dance now admit Davies ran the studio like a cult.
He looked up to self-help guru and motivational speaker Anthony Robbins and he always had to be the centre of attention.
He made students keep diaries of not just the dance practice they had done at home but what they had eaten and how they were feeling.
He would "body shame" his young students and punish them if they missed classes for family functions, holidays or school. Students would be made to wear tiny, revealing outfits that raised eyebrows even by dance school standards.
Davies and RG Dance had successes; a number of students went on to perform in productions such as The Lion King and Billy Elliot.
Some parents did anything they could to get Davies' attention. Davies in turn would manipulate his students for his own sexual gratification.
Court documents reveal he indecently assaulted one student before text messaging her saying: "Hiii.Yayyy. That felt so special."
Davies told several of his victims that he loved them.
But when one girl refused to reply to his messages, he began to pick on her in class in front of other students, telling her she was not "shining her light" and would not make it as a dancer.
"I didn't want to do the photos and videos but that's the only way I actually thought I would become professional dancer," one victim said in a statement.
One mother was so obsessed by the fame Davies had promised she took two videos and more than 100 photos of her daughters naked and in sexual poses and sent them to him because she thought they would help their career.
Another mother, in Western Australia, was convicted after allowing Davies to groom her daughter online.
Parents have claimed Davies often would give extra attention to the single mothers at his dance school or those whose husbands were not around.
Eventually Davies was caught out and reported to police by his own wife who believed he had been having an affair. She told police her usually outgoing husband had become "secretive" in the months before his arrest.
One night, when he was out teaching a class, his computer turned on automatically and his wife went though his files - finding enough evidence to suggest her husband was grooming a child and took the evidence to police.
Davies was arrested a month later, on a Friday in May 2013 at a North Strathfield tenpin bowling alley and charged with grooming two girls.
Further investigations and publicity around his arrest saw seven more victims come forward.
He will be sentenced next year.