Posted November 14
A former University of Nebraska women's basketball star accused of faking a hate-crime attack against her is standing by her story in letters to news organizations and in a new online video.
In the video and letters, 34-year-old Charlie Rogers says she did not make up the attack.
"If I did this because I am mentally ill, why are they so adamant to put me in jail?" she wrote.
Rogers says that in July, three masked men broke into her home and carved anti-gay words on her arms and abdomen, as well as making other cuts on her body.
"I have been treated unfairly," she wrote. "I have had hate directed against me every single day since the arrest. I have mental illness. That does not make me guilty. It makes me vulnerable in a system that understands nothing about mental illness. I can't remember details, partly because that is what our brains do in instances of trauma, and partly because my brain is already made that way due to previous trauma."
Police arrested her Aug. 21 for allegedly staging the attack.
Prosecutors charged her with making a false report to police, a misdemeanor.
She pleaded not guilty Sept. 27.
Both prosecutors and Rogers' attorney say they expect the case to go to trial.
Rogers, a LGBT member, told police in July that three masked men broke into her home, bound her and tried to set the residence on fire. After investigating, police arrested Rogers, accusing her of false reporting.
She insists she's a victim.
Early Tuesday morning, Lancaster County Attorney Joe Kelly filed a complaint of false reporting against 33 year-old Charlie Rogers. Shortly after, a judge signed off on an arrest warrant for Rogers.
Rogers faces up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Rogers, a LGBT member, told police three masked men broke into her home in the 1000 block of South 22nd Street between 1:30 and 4 a.m. Sunday July 22nd.
According to police reports, the suspects tied her up, carved anti-gay slurs into her skin and tried to light her house on fire. She reportedly crawled from her house, naked, bleeding and screaming for help.
According to the arrest warrant, there was no apparent blood on the bedspread; even though Rogers reported she was rolled on to her stomach after she had been cut on her arms, abdomen, chest and front of her legs while being held down. Lab tests on the bed cover could not find any traces of blood.
In the affidavit, police say Rogers admitted to shopping at the store where several items used in the incident were purchased, including gloves, zip ties, blades, and a knife. Police say the store clerk picked Rogers from a lineup and identified her as the person who purchased the items.
Authorities continued by saying that the cuts to Rogers' body were either self inflicted, or she let somone do them.
"The lines were too straight to be accomplished during a struggle, and the fact that the cuts were in areas that the victim could've done them herself," said Lincoln Chief of Police Jim Peschong.
Rogers' lawyer says that she has continued to claim her innocence. She pleaded not guilty to the misdemeanor charge.
"It's been difficult obviously her having gone through such a traumatic event to then have things take this unexpected turn," said Rogers' lawyer, Brett McArthur.
Rogers will be back in court in September.
Lincoln Police responded to the 1000 block of South 22nd Street just after 4:00 Sunday morning. According to police reports, three men went into the home, assaulted the woman and then started the house on fire.
Before leaving, the men spray painted derogatory messages about her sexuality inside the home. The woman managed to escape and knocked on a neighbor's door for help.
A neighbor, who wished to remain anonymous, said, "My neighbor was standing there and she had no clothes on her hand had been tied with zip ties and the first thing I saw was the blood running down her face."
The neighbor said the woman had cuts all over her torso, arms, and face and was hysterical.
A friend described the cuts, "There were things carved on her body that can only be described as hate, that somebody can only be taught and we need to stop teaching it."
That's when the neighbor called 911 and reported the incident.
The neighbor added, "I absolutely think it was a hate crime and it appalls me that someone judges her on one small portion of her character."
Neighbors described the victim as a nice person who would occasionally mow other neighbors yards when she was out mowing hers or help people carry in groceries. They say she was friendly, but kept to herself and didn't bother anyone.
Friends organized a "Vigil Against Violence" Sunday on the west side of the Capitol. Word of the vigil spread quickly via social media and hundreds attended, holding candles to show support for the victim.
First Plymouth Congregational Church in Lincoln is planning a vigil for 7:00 p.m.Wednesday night, and another is planned 8:00 p.m. Thursday at Memorial Park in Omaha.