A Nebraska woman who alleged she was the victim of a vicious hate crime has been charged with making a false complaint to police after they decided that her injuries were self inflicted.
Charlie Rogers crawled to the house of a neighbor on July 22, naked and bleeding, and told police that three masked men had broken into her home and pinned her down, cutting gay slurs into her skin before trying to burn the house down.
Police found a pile of clothes, gloves and a box cutter on her living room floor after the alleged attack but found that the DNA inside the gloves was female, not male, and that most of the DNA belonged to Rogers.
Further investigations found that Rogers had purchased gloves, a box cutter and cable ties from a nearby hardware store five days before the alleged attack.
Then a few days before the attack, Rogers sent a photo of herself to a friend with a cross shaped cut on her chest – apparently self-inflicted.
Roger’s home city of Lincoln, Nebraska had been debating an anti-discrimination ordinance which had been approved by the city council in May but was to be put to a popular vote after two conservative groups gathered enough votes to force a referendum on it.
On July 18, Rogers had posted on Facebook, ‘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.’
Rogers, a former champion women’s basketball player at the University of Nebraska, maintains her innocence and that the attack took place.
‘This has been a very traumatic event for her, and having the focus of the investigation turn toward her has been really hard,’ Roger’s lawyer Brett McArthur told USA Today.
‘She has no reason to lie about what happened. She's pretty devastated, when you go to authorities and things kind of get turned around on you.’
However four Nebraska LGBT rights groups say they believe the police investigation has been fair and proper.
‘Over the past few weeks, law enforcement has been very forthcoming in providing information to leaders of Lincoln's gay and transgender community,’ Star City Pride, PFLAG Cornhusker, the University of Nebraska Lincoln’s LGBTQA Resource Center, and Outlinc said in a joint statement.
‘Law enforcement has reiterated that serious hate crimes do happen in Lincoln. These crimes devastate the very fabric of every community in Lincoln. They cause people to turn their heads over their shoulder in fear. Any allegation of crime or violence motivated by hate deserves the most serious investigation by law enforcement. By working with the FBI and multiple independent analysts, we are confident that this crime has received a balanced and thorough investigation.’
‘Our recent experience gives us confidence that any crime in Lincoln will be thoroughly and fairly investigated … The false reports received by law enforcement every year do not invalidate the actual crimes that are committed and investigated by law enforcement in Lincoln.’
Earlier in August a gay Montanan man pleaded guilty to reporting that he had been the victim of a hate crime when in fact he had simply injured himself while performing a back flip.