Lincoln, Nebraska, woman who claimed three men broke into her home and carved anti-gay slurs into her body, has been convicted of faking the attack.
Charlie Rogers, 34, pleaded no contest to filing a false police report 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.
Four days before the incident, Rogers, an out lesbian and former college basketball player, also posted a suspicious message on Facebook: ”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.”
Authorities believe she staged the attack to spark change.
At the time, the city 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 measure could go into effect.
After Monday’s verdict, Rogers’ attorney said the whole ordeal has been traumatic for his client: “She has maintained her story, and having the focus of this investigation turned toward her has been really hard.”
Rogers will be sentenced in February, when she faces a $1,000 fine and up to a year in prison.