Charlie Rogers: "I'm Done Being Quiet"
Says Lincoln police told her, "This just doesn't happen in Nebraska."
LINCOLN - The woman once dubbed "Rainbow Jane" released a 15 minute YouTube video Tuesday night, saying she's innocent and will be silent no longer.
Charlie Rogers made headlines in the summer. In the early morning hours of July 22, she crawled to her neighbor's home, naked and bleeding. She said masked men broke into her home, tied her down, carved homophobic slurs into her skin, and tried to set her house on fire. She escaped.
News of a possible hate crime sent the gay community into an uproar. To keep her identity a secret because they believed she was the victim of such a gruesome crime, they gave her the name Rainbow Jane. The story made headlines across the nation and even gained international attention. Vigils were held in Lincoln and Omaha, where thousands of people lit candles and promised to stop the violence.
Then, the arrest.
In August, Lincoln police arrested Rogers and charged her with the false reporting of a hate crime. At a news conference, they laid out evidence against her. Court documents show Rogers purchased gloves, zip ties, knife blades and a red utility knife at a neighborhood Ace Hardware store, prior to July 22. Rogers told police the suspects left the items behind after the attack. Scientists found her DNA inside the gloves. And they say the cuts on her skin were too straight to be accomplished in a struggle.
After her arraignment in September, Rogers fell silent. She broke that silence Tuesday night when she blamed Lincoln police for a poor investigation. She said from the start, they were not sympathetic to her plight. In the video, Rogers said one officer told her at the hospital during the investigation, "This just doesn't happen in Nebraska." She said during a separate interrogation, police ultimately pointed the finger at her, saying "You did this." She also said her home was vacant and unlocked for days after the attack - ample time, she says, for evidence to get lost or compromised.
The poor-quality video appeared to be taken by Rogers herself, inside a bedroom or living room. Rogers said she has a history of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, anxiety and depression. She said when her brain couldn't process information to give police, it made her look suspicious. She said no one deserves being treated the way she was treated, and she's done being silent.
"I'm going to jail for something I didn't do, for a crime committed against me and I'm OK with that. But I'm not going to let it happen to anyone else," Rogers explained in the video.
Rogers' neighbor, who called 911 the night of the alleged attack, said she believed everything Rogers told her that night. She was upset and hurt by Rogers' actions after she found out police believed it was a hoax.
"I don't think it (the video) will accomplish what Charlie wants it to accomplish," her neighbor described. "I think she would've been further ahead if she remained silent."
Rogers wanted anyone watching to know her perpetrators are still out there. She said an online petition has been set up to have charges against her dropped, but what she really wants is for people to help others.
The Lancaster County Attorney's Office and the Lincoln Police department would not comment on Rogers' allegations. They say the evidence has been presented factually.
Rogers' next court date is scheduled for later this month.