Charlie Rogers, a 33-year-old lesbian from Lincoln, Nebraska who claimed three men broke into her home and physically scarred her before trying to burn down her house last month, has been accused of faking the attack in hopes it would spark change.
Rogers pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to filing a false police report and, according to her attorney Brett Arthur, maintains that the attack happened.
But police chief Jim Peschong pointed to several pieces of incriminating evidence that undermine Rogers’ version of the events:
According to Peschong, police found a pile of clothes, white knit gloves and a red box cutter on the living room floor after the alleged attack. Rogers said the gloves didn’t belong to her, but investigators determined that a lot of the DNA found inside the glove was Rogers’ and that none of it came from a male.
Peschong said investigators discovered that Rogers deleted numerous text messages she had sent the evening of the alleged attack, and that she bought cotton gloves, a box cutter and zip ties from an Ace Hardware Store in Lincoln on July 17. All of the items were later found in her house, he said. When confronted about the evidence weeks later, he said, Rogers admitted to purchasing all of the items except the gloves.
She also sent a photo of a cross-shaped cut on her chest to a friend a few days before the reported attack, Peschong said.
Investigators say they found no apparent sign of a struggle in the living room where Rogers said she was attacked, and no blood on the sheets where the cutting allegedly took place. An FBI forensic pathologist concluded that Rogers either cut herself, or allowed someone else to do it.
Rogers also posted a message on her Facebook four days before the attack that authorities speculate provide the motivation behind her actions: “So maybe I am too idealistic, but I believe way deep inside me that we can make things better for everyone. I will be a catalyst. I will do what it takes. I will. Watch me.”
Lincoln, at the time, had been embroiled in a heated debate over a city ordinance that would ban discrimination against LGBT people. The ordinance passed City Council but two conservative groups gathered enough signatures to force a popular vote before the ordinance could go into effect.
Faking your own gay bashing seems to be a disturbing new trend after Joseph Baken pleaded guilty to doing just that earlier this month. The main difference is that Baken’s wounds were the result of a fairly idiotic accident, whereas — should she be found guilty — Rogers inflicted, or had someone else inflict, serious damage to her own body. Which is almost as disturbing as if the attack were real in itself. But desperation can lead one to desperate measures. What is the world coming to when someone has to — allegedly — fake their own hate crime to make a point?