Nebraska’s Charlie Rogers guards Creighton’s Corey Sweeney during a basketball game on Dec. 12, 1999, in Lincoln, Nebraska.
July 17: Charlie Rogers, a 33-year-old lesbian and former star of the University of Nebraska women’s basketball team, goes to a hardware store and buys a box cutter and zip ties — items that are later found in her living room at the scene of a violent attack she reported.
July 18: Rogers posts on Facebook: “So maybe I’m too idealistic but 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.” Police later use this as a motive for Rogers staging her own hate crime.
Charlie Rogers, a former college basketball star, on KETV shortly after her attack.
July 22: Rogers is reportedly attacked. She tells police that three men in masks broke into her home, tied her up, carved anti-gay slurs into her stomach and arms, sliced up her chest, thighs, shins, and bottom, and then tried to light her apartment on fire. A neighbor told police that Rogers crawled from her home naked and bleeding.
July 26: Rogers speaks to the press for the first time. Her attorney Megan Mikolajczyk tells CNN that Rogers wants to emphasize her attack was not a hoax. When asked if anyone was alleging a hoax, Mikolajczyk says: “I think it’s par for the course for any sort of high-profile incident for people to question what happened.”
In response to a similar question, a police spokeswoman says: “We are investigating all aspects of the case, including the possibility that it is a false report. This type of evaluation is not uncommon and is necessary in completing an investigation.” Meanwhile, more than a thousand people rally against violence for Rogers in Omaha.
The rally in honor of Rogers. The event included speeches from Omaha Mayor Jim Suttle and City Councilman Ben Gray.
Aug. 21: Police reveal evidence that Rogers staged her attack. First, there was no sign of a struggle in Rogers’ living room, according to reports. An FBI pathologist who examined Rogers also concluded that she either cut herself or allowed someone to cut her. DNA found inside the gloves left at the scene matched Rogers’. Police say that Rogers had sent photos of her injuries to a friend a few days before the attack. She also apparently deleted a handful of text messages sent that evening.
An arrest warrant is issued, and Rogers appears briefly in court. She pleads not guilty to the charge of making a false report, which is a misdemeanor. She is released on a personal recognizance bond. Gay-rights advocates in Nebraska release a statement:
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. It is important not to focus on the actions of any single individual. As residents of Lincoln we must continue to bring our community together to declare that violence and hate are not the values of our city.