Student tells how she was encouraged to dress as a schoolgirl before being pressured into sex
By Lewis Smith
Earlier this week, The Independent revealed how young women were lured to meetings with the man through the SponsorAScholar.co.uk website.
An undercover reporter recorded a meeting with the man who told her that sponsorship was dependent on a “high level of sexual intimacy” with men in two-hour sessions in hotel rooms up to four times a term.
The man filmed by The Independent was said last night to go under the name Mark Lancaster, but when contacted by a television programme refused to speak about the Sponsor a Scholar scheme. He had previously claimed to have arranged for 1,400 young women to win sponsorship.
When he met the undercover Independent reporter, he told her that to qualify for the scheme she would have to undertake a “practical assessment” with him to prove she would offer “the level of intimacy” that would be demanded by sponsors.
There were concerns last night that the scheme may have been a front to allow him to take advantage of young women. A student, whose identity was kept secret, told Channel 4 News that when she went to a rented flat with the man for an interview, she had been encouraged to dress up in a schoolgirl outfit before being pressured to have sex.
After he told her, “It’s time now for the practical,” she froze and felt unable to fight off his advances: “Then he just kissed me before I really had time to think about it or ask any questions … and I just froze because I really didn’t know what to do. Then he started undressing me.
“I was in a different city, and he’d picked me up from outside the place and walked me in so in my mind I was, like ‘I can’t leave right now because I don’t know where I am and if I do leave and he chases me, I don’t know what to do’. So I just froze and went along with what he was doing.”
Despite having had sex with the man, she was sent an email telling her that she had failed to secure sponsorship but that she could reapply in a couple of months. The student said she had contacted the Sponsor a Scholar scheme because she was struggling to pay her tuition fees.
Since being exposed by The Independent the SponsorAScholar website has been taken down. It had claimed to offer students up to £15,000 a year for meetings with wealthy businessmen in search of “discreet adventures”.