A Lincoln woman accused of making up a hate crime released a 15-minute YouTube video Tuesday to once again proclaim her innocence.
“The perpetrators of my crime are still out there,” said Charlie Rogers, 34, in response to being charged in August with misdemeanor false reporting.
Rogers, a lesbian, got national attention in July when she told Lincoln police that three men broke into her home, bound her with zip ties, carved anti-gay slurs into her skin and tried to set fire to her house.
Gay rights advocates held vigils and raised money for her hospital bills.
Police later said the evidence didn't point to masked attackers but rather self-inflicted injuries.
They determined this in part because there was no blood on the bed where she said the attack happened nor were they able to find male DNA in gloves allegedly left behind following the attack. Police also said she used her credit card to buy ties, a box cutter and box cutter blades shortly before the incident.
Rogers, a former University of Nebraska basketball player, did not use the video to rebut evidence cited by police that contradicted her version of events. She suggested investigators were skeptical of her report from the beginning.
“I was treated like a suspect,” she said. “I was never treated like a victim.”
She also said her house was left open and unlocked for two days after the incident, a period when insurance adjusters, neighbors and friends walked in and out of what she called the crime scene. She contended evidence was lost.
Lincoln Police Chief Jim Peschong declined Wednesday to respond to Rogers' contentions.
“This matter is currently in the court's hands and we will let the courts rule and decide on the facts,” he said.
Her lawyer, Brett McArthur, has urged people to withhold judgment until all the evidence comes out in court.
In the video, Rogers said she did not benefit financially from the rallies and vigils held on her behalf. But after she was charged with false reporting, she lost friends and supporters.
She also said she suffers from depression, anxiety and post traumatic stress disorder, all of which predated the July incident. After she was charged, she said she was forced into emergency protective custody.
“It's not right, it's not fair,” she said. “I'm done with this victim stuff.”
If convicted of false reporting, Rogers faces a maximum penalty of one year in prison.
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