Lincoln woman accused of making up hate crime

Joe Duggan – World Herald Bureau August 21, 2012

Forensic medical professionals told police the anti-homosexual epithets cut into the body of a gay Lincoln woman were most likely self-inflicted, part of what has now led authorities to seek her arrest for false reporting.

Charlie Rogers, 33, a former basketball standout for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, told authorities she was the victim of a July 22 hate crime.

Rogers made a first appearance in court Tuesday afternoon and pleaded not guilty to the single count. She turned herself in Tuesday morning and was released without posting bail.

“To go through such a traumatic experience as she has been through and now be accused of a crime has made this even more difficult,” said her attorney, Brett McArthur.

Her story that three masked male intruders broke into her house, bound her with zip ties and cut epithets into her arms and stomach fell apart under closer scrutiny, according to an arrest warrant affidavit filed by Lincoln Police Investigator Lynette Russell.

Among the inconsistencies with Rogers’ report, according to the warrant:

A coroner’s physician and a forensic pathologist said the cuts were either self-inflicted or done by someone with Rogers’ cooperation. They made their determination after viewing photos of the cuts, saying they appeared superficial and symmetrical, avoided sensitive areas of the body, would have taken considerable time to do and were within Rogers’ reach.

No male DNA was found on a pair of white knit gloves Rogers said one of the attackers was wearing. Rogers’ DNA, however, was found on the inside of the gloves.

No blood was found on the covers of the bed where Rogers said the men held her while they carved the epithets into her body using a box cutter.

Rogers purchased zip ties, a box cutter, box cutter blades and white gloves from a local hardware store five days before the alleged attack. A store clerk picked Roger’s photo out of a lineup as the person who made the purchase

Rogers also said the men spray-painted graffiti in her basement and set fire to her home.

Police said it is standard procedure to remain open to the possibility that assault reports are false. In the days after the report, they said they were actively searching for suspects, but they never made any arrests.

Gay-rights supporters held rallies in Omaha and Lincoln supporting Rogers, who they dubbed “Rainbow Jane.” The case also was reported nationally on news websites and discussed on social networks.

Gay-rights supporters held rallies in Omaha and Lincoln in support of Rogers.

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