A Lincoln woman is charged with making false statements to police after she claimed last month that three men broke into her home, carved anti-gay slurs into her skin and tried to light her house on fire.
33-year-old Charlie Rogers, a member of the LGBT community, maintains she was attacked and pleaded not guilty at her arraignment Tuesday afternoon.
Rogers faces up to one year in jail and/or a $1,000 fine for the misdemeanor. She was released on a personal recognizance bond.
Lancaster County Attorney Joe Kelly says a judge issued an arrest warrant for Rogers Tuesday morning. Police had spent weeks investigating the case as a hate crime, saying it appeared to be motivated by anti-gay bias.
Rogers told police she was attacked by three masked men at her home at 1000 block of South 22nd Street on July 22. She reportedly crawled from her house, naked, bleeding and screaming for help.
Details about the case spread rapidly on the Internet and prompted a rally that drew hundreds of people outside the State Capitol.
The creator of a Facebook group called Vigil Against Violence with nearly 2,000 members posted the following message on the page Tuesday.
"I feel it is important that we do not lose sight of our cause. This is not to say that I believe or disbelieve anything that has been stated thus far. The point of the matter is that there are still crimes of hate being committed all over the world. They will not be tolerated. When we gathered on the steps of the Capitol Building almost exactly a month ago, we made it clear that we are a community that supports and loves each other. The statement we made in lighting our candles is unwavering. This is not a time to turn against each other or start finger pointing. Quite the contrary. Now, more than ever, we need to stand together to say that no matter what, there is no room for hate in our world."
Rogers' Attorney, Brett McArthur, said his client maintains she was attacked and is sticking with her original statement to police.
"This is a woman that went through one traumatic event and is now faced with going through another," said McArthur.
According to the arrest warrant, there was no apparent blood on the bedspread; even though Rogers reported she was rolled on to her stomach after she had been cut on her arms, abdomen, chest and front of her legs while being held down. Lab tests on the bed cover could not find any traces of blood.
"A forensic pathologist rendered an analysis based on their professional opinion and expertise on the cuttings on Miss Rogers' arm were either self inflicted or she had allowed someone to do them," said Chief Jim Peschong, Lincoln Police.
Chief Peschong said Rogers outlined her motive for the faked July 22 attack in Facebook postings four days earlier.
Peschong says Rogers wrote: "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."
The arrest warrant says on July 17 gloves, zip ties and a knife were purchased at an Ace Hardware store where Rogers frequently shops. The clerk told police he is 51% sure it was Rogers who purchased the items. Click on the link above to read the entire arrest warrant.
Click on the related stories below to read our previous reports on this case.