Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Alleged Nebraska Hate Crime Ruled a Hoax

Police have completed their investigation and are calling the reported July 21, 2012, hate-based attack on Lincoln, Neb., woman Charlie K. Rogers, 33, a staged incident. Rogers, who is openly gay, claimed that three masked men broke into her home while she was lying on her bed. She said that they held her down, stripped her and carved “derogatory words” on her body. She also claimed that they vandalized her home with hate graffiti, and set it on fire with her inside. She was found by neighbors running naked and bleeding in the street. The community was stunned by the alleged crime and held a vigil in support of Rogers, a former University of Nebraska basketball player, whose name was kept confidential while police investigated the incident as a hate crime.

On July 26 Rogers gave and interview to KETV, saying “For people to think this doesn’t happen here, it does,” Rogers said. “It did.” She did not elaborate on the attack.

On August 21, Lincoln police announced that “the physical evidence conflicted with Charlie Rogers’ version of events” and that “extensive investigation revealed numerous inconsistencies.” The first thing investigators noticed, was that there was no sign of forced entry. According to Lincoln Police Chief Jim Peschong there are questions regarding a pair of gloves found at the scene, “She [Rogers] had told the investigators initially that the gloves were the only things left behind by her assailants and that they were not hers.” According a sworn statement by investigator Lynette Russell, DNA testing on gloves revealed “Ms. Rogers DNA profile was the major contributor to the DNA located on the inside of the gloves.” In her statement Russell also said that the bed showed no signs of a struggle: The bedspread was “evenly placed on the bed and no apparent sign of a struggle,” and it tested negative for blood. A pathologist determined that Rogers’ injuries were self-inflicted. Police claim that Rogers gave them information that “she knew to be false” to “instigate an investigation of an alleged criminal matter.”

Rogers arranged through her new attorney, Brett McArthur, to turn herself in, and was arrested on August 22. She is charged with false reporting, a class one misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in prison and a $1,000 fine. She was released on her own recognizance. McArthur says that Rogers maintains her innocence and added, “This has been kind of a kick in the gut as a victim to … be charged.” Legislators in Nebraska have tabled a proposed gay rights referendum that was scheduled for November, though they have not announced a connection with this case.

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