Dec 11, 2012 No Comments ›› Pat Dollard
Excerpted from The Daily Mail: A Nebraska woman who claimed she was brutally attacked by three men who carved anti-gay slurs into her arms and stomach has been found guilty of making a false report.
Charlie Rogers, a former college basketball star and openly gay woman, was found guilty on Monday in Lincoln after entering a plea of no contest, allowing her to not admit guilt but state she wouldn’t offer a defense.
Her attorney says Rogers maintains her innocence but didn’t want a court fight while police have claimed she staged the attack for attention and to spark change.
With her conviction the 34-year-old faces up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine when sentenced in February.
The former University of Nebraska-Lincoln basketball star was charged a month after telling police in July that three masked men broke into her home, assaulted her and carved derogatory words into her body.
Just last month Rogers pleaded to the public and news outlets in an online video maintaining her innocence while warning that her attackers are still on the loose.
‘The perpetrators of my crime are still out there. They are. It wasn’t me,’ Rogers said in the 15-minute video. ‘I wouldn’t say I did it then, and I won’t say I did it now. I am innocent.’
Rogers told police that three masked men broke into her home, and that one of them pinned her down while another sliced a cross into her chest, cut the front of her thighs and shins and carved derogatory words in her arms and abdomen.
She said they then rolled her onto her stomach and cut her buttocks, the back of her thighs and the back of her right calf. She also said they tried to burn down her house.
Rogers, who ranks second in career-blocked shots for the University of Nebraska’s Cornhuskers, crawled from her home naked, bleeding and screaming for help, a neighbor told police.
Police arrested her on August 21 for allegedly staging the attack, and prosecutors charged her with making a false report to police, a misdemeanor. She pleaded not guilty a month later.
Investigators did not follow up on leads in the case, Rogers said. They did not interview a woman who had a key to Rogers’ house, didn’t check out men taking photographs of her at a public event and didn’t secure the crime scene in the days after the attack, she said.
Instead, Rogers said, authorities have painted her as mentally ill and tried her in the court of public opinion.
Police Chief Jim Peschong countered that investigators have worked diligently on the case and brought in an FBI agent to help.
Peschong said investigators never found any evidence to back up Rogers’ story. He said there was no sign of a struggle at Rogers’ house and no blood on the bedspread where she said the men cut her.
An FBI forensic pathologist determined that Rogers made the cuts herself or they were done with her permission, her arrest warrant says.
There was no apparent struggle in the room where Rogers said she was attacked on her bed and the bedspread was described in her arrest warrant as appearing ‘neat’ and ‘evenly placed on the bed’.
‘There was no apparent blood on the bedspread; even though Ms Rogers reported she was rolled on to her stomach after she had been cut on her arms, abdomen, chest and front legs while being held down,’ it said.
Forensic tests of Rogers’ bedding at the University of Nebraska Medical Center found no traces of blood.
When the FBI sent the pictures of her cuts to experts, they concluded they had been self-inflicted, according to the warrant.
‘This opinion is based partially on the fact that the cuts appeared to be superficial and symmetrical, avoided sensitive areas of the body, appear that they would have taken considerable time to do and are accessible to the victim and follow the victim’s frame of reference for reading and writing.’
Dr Michelle Elieff, a forensic pathologist, also noted Rogers had no bruising, even though she alleged the men had beat her up.
Police found a pile of clothes, white knit gloves and a red box cutter on the living room floor.
Rogers said the gloves did not belong to her, but investigators determined that a lot of the DNA inside them belonged to her.