Ben Johnson

Police say lesbian faked brutal ‘hate crime’ attack: carved cross on own chest

Ben Johnson
Ben Johnson
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LINCOLN, NE, August 22, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – Charlie Rogers’ story about crawling at 4 a.m. on a Monday morning – bound, bloodied, and baying – across the street to her neighbor’s house after being brutally attacked by three men seemed too horrific to be true. Yesterday, police in Lincoln, Nebraska, concluded it was just that.

The 33-year-old lesbian, a former University of Nebraska women’s basketball star, arrived on the front door of her neighbor Linda Rappl’s house on July 22, with a story out of a horror movie. Three masked men had broken into her home, tied her up with plastic zip ties, carved a cross into her chest and anti-gay slurs into her arms and stomach, spray painted hateful words onto her walls, then tried to set her home on fire.

“All I could see was a cut across her forehead and blood running down,” Rappl said

Rogers said the men held her down on her bed, cut her from her thighs to shins, then turned her over and sliced her from her buttocks to her right calf.  Rappl described the wounds as “superficial” but signs of “torture.”

Lincoln police found Rogers’ wall covered in messages including “We found U D-ke,” and “Leave kids alone.” They also found traces of gasoline, and the door she said she busted through.

“When she was standing at my door, I believed everything,” Rappl said. “I had no reason to doubt that what she said happened had happened.”

The town and surrounding area believed her story, too, as her tale ricocheted around the internet.

Omaha-based Heartland Pride held a rally last month outside the Lincoln capitol, attracting 1,000 people and raising $1,800, which Heartland President Beth Rigatuso deposited in a bank account for Rogers. First Plymouth Congregational Church held a second event in her honor. Lincoln Mayor Chris Beutler, a Democrat. issued a statement declaring, “We stand united with our gay and lesbian citizens in denouncing violence directed at any group.” 

But Rogers’ story quickly unraveled.

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Police say her story changed markedly during the four times they questioned her. 

LPD investigator Lynette Russell said she found the bedspread, where three men had purportedly restrained and tortured her, “evenly placed on the bed and no apparent sign of a struggle,” and without a spot of blood.

Then there were the wounds themselves. Russell said they “appeared superficial and symmetrical, [and] avoided sensitive areas of the body.” They appeared to be consistent with someone writing on themselves, she said. 

At the scene, police found a pair of white knit gloves. “She had told the investigators initially that the gloves were the only things that were left behind by her assailants and that they were not hers,” said Lincoln Police Chief Jim Peschong. But the only DNA the University of Nebraska Medical Center found inside them “matched Miss Rogers.” 

Police soon found that she had purchased a pair of white gloves, zip ties, a utility knife, and blades at the local Ace Hardware store on July 17. They matched the bar codes to those sold at the store, and an employee identified Rogers as having shopped there.

The day after shopping at Ace – four days before the alleged assault – Rogers posted on Facebook: “So maybe I am 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 shocking incident took place as the city debated a gay rights measure, the “Fairness Ordinance.” Lincoln police say Rogers staged the attack to gain support for the homosexual political agenda.

As the investigation began to implicate her, Rogers came forward for an interview with KETV. Her lawyer at the time, Megan Mikolajczyk, had been prepared to go to the media, as well, but canceled saying, “Things have changed.” Soon, she was off the case. 

“I start to feel like a pawn in a game that isn’t my game. I didn’t ask for this,” Rogers said while sobbing. “What matters is the story.”

She said a shocking event like this “ignites fires – and that’s a good thing, in some ways. It can also be a very bad thing.”

“There is fear, but there is resilience,” she said. In what may have been a reference to President Obama’s re-election slogan, she concluded, “There is Forward.”

Police took her before a Lancaster County judge on Tuesday, charging her with reporting an event “she knew to be false,” as part of a plot to cause police to “instigate an investigation of an alleged criminal matter.”

FBI pathologist Michelle Elieff, who had been called in to investigate the presumed hate crime, wrote in the arrest warrant that the wounds were self-inflicted or caused by permission. “The FBI, the Bureau of Fire Prevention and the Lincoln Police Department have spent an exorbitant amount of time and personnel resources investigating this,” Peschong said.

Rogers pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to one count of making a false police report, a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail. The judge released her on her own recognizance, setting a trial for September 14.

The fact that her story was another in a string of apparent hate crime hoaxes did not cause local LGBT lobbying organizations to rethink their political lobbying activities.
 
“Even if she did it, we still live in a culture of homophobia,” said the First Plymouth Congregational Church’s associate pastor, Nancy Erickson.

Star City Pride, PFLAG Cornhusker, and two other LGBT organizations released a joint statement in reaction to Rogers’ arrest, stating, “The false reports received by law enforcement every year do not invalidate the actual crimes that are committed.” 
 
One of the organizers of the Lincoln rally, Beth Rigatuso, said, “If in fact she did do this to herself, it points to a much larger issue of self-hatred.” 

Linda Rappl, the neighbor who came to Rogers’ aid, said, “This whole thing has really shaken my faith in humanity.”

She and Lincoln police have suggested Rogers get counseling.   

The alleged hoax arrest comes shortly after a Montana man, Joseph Baken, claimed he was beaten up on his 22nd birthday for being homosexual. After his story went viral, police discovered he had simply botched a backflip and slammed his face into the pavement.

Baken capped off a series of faux hate crimes allegedly directed against gays and lesbians, as well as other minorities.

Earlier this year, Central Connecticut State University held a “solidarity rally” on behalf of 19-year-old Alexandra Pennell, a lesbian allegedly receiving hate notes, which officials later discovered she had planted herself. 

In May, police charged a lesbian couple in Colorado with writing “Kill the Gay” on their own garage

A substantial number of hate crimes hoaxes take place each year, whether on sexual or racial grounds. 

Jeff Laszloffy, president of the Montana Family Foundation, told LifeSiteNews.com earlier this month there is a dearth of real violence against homosexuals, “so they’re having to gin up excuses to get these laws passed.”

 


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Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus

African researchers warn early sexual activity increases risk of cancers

Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus
By Thaddeus Baklinski

A report on rising cancer rates in Africa delivered at a conference in Namibia last week warned that oral contraceptives and engaging in sexual activity from a young age lead to an increased risk of breast and reproductive system cancers.

Researchers presented the "2014 Integrated Africa Cancer Fact Sheet & Summary Score Card" during the 8th Stop Cervical, Breast and Prostate Cancer in Africa (SCCA) conference, held in Windhoek, Namibia from July 20 to 22, noted that cancer is a growing health problem in many developing countries and that breast and cervical cancer are the most common forms affecting African women.

The report said that sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) play a major role in reproductive system cancers and that young girls who engage in sexual activity risk getting, among other STDs, the human papilloma virus (HPV), some strains of which are linked to cervical cancer.

The report said although HPV infections are common in healthy women, they are usually fought off by the body’s immune system, with no discernible symptoms or health consequences.

The Cancer Association of South Africa points out that of the scores of HPV types, 14 of the more than 40 sexually transmitted varieties are considered "high risk" for causing serious illness, while two, HPV-16 and HPV-18, are linked to cervical cancer.

“Long-term use of oral contraceptives is also associated with increased risk [of cancer], and women living with HIV-AIDS are at increased risk of cervical cancer,” the report said.

Dr. Thandeka Mazibuko, a South African oncologist, told the conference attendees that when an 18-year-old is diagnosed with cervical cancer, “this means sex is an important activity in her life and she indulged from a young age.”

Mazibuko said the standard treatment for cancer of the cervix is seven weeks of radiation therapy.

“After the treatment they cannot have sex with their husbands or partners. They cannot bear children because everything has been closed up. Some may still have the womb but radiation makes them infertile,” Mazibuko said, according to a report in The Namibian.

Statistics from the Cancer Association of Namibia show that cases of cervical cancer have risen from 129 in 2005 to 266 in 2012.

The SCCA Conference theme was, "Moving forward to end Cervical Cancer by 2030: Universal Access to Cervical Cancer Prevention."

In his keynote address, host and Namibian President Hifikepunye Lucas Pohamba urged African countries to help each other to expand and modernize health care delivery in the continent.

"Within the context of the post-2015 Development Agenda and sustainable development goals, the provision of adequate health care to African women and children must be re-emphasized," said the president, according to AllAfrica.

The Namibian leader urged mothers to breastfeed their children for at least six months as a measure to prevent breast cancer.


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Hilary White Hilary White Follow Hilary

Allow ‘lethal injection’ for poor to save on palliative care: Lithuanian health minister

Hilary White Hilary White Follow Hilary
By Hilary White

Euthanasia is a solution for terminally ill poor people who cannot afford palliative care and who do not want to “see their families agonize” over their suffering, Lithuania’s health minister said last week.

In an interview on national television, Minister Rimantė Šalaševičiūtė added that the Belgian law on child euthanasia ought to be “taken into account” as well. 

Šalaševičiūtė told TV3 News that Lithuania, a country whose population is 77 percent Catholic, is not a welfare state and cannot guarantee quality palliative care for all those in need of it. The solution, therefore, would be “lethal injection.”

“It is time to think through euthanasia in these patients and allow them to make a decision: to live or die,” she said.

Direct euthanasia remains illegal in the Balkan state, but activists tried to bring it to the table in 2012. A motion to drop the planned bill was passed in the Parliament in March that year in a vote of 75 to 14. Since then the country has undergone a change in government in which the far-left Social Democrats have formed the largest voting bloc.

Šalaševičiūtė is a member of Parliament for the Social Democrats, the party originally established in the late 19th century – re-formed in the late 1980s – from Marxist principles and now affiliated with the international Party of European Socialists and Socialist International.

Fr. Andrius Narbekovas, a prominent priest, lecturer, physician, bioethicist, and member of the government’s bioethics committee, called the suggestion “satanic,” according to Delfi.lt. He issued a statement saying it is the purpose of the Ministry of Health to “protect the health and life, instead of looking for ways to take away life.”

“We understand that people who are sick are in need of funds. But a society that declares itself democratic, should very clearly understand that we have to take care of the sick, not kill them,” he said.


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Islamists in Mosul mark Christian homes with an Arabic "N" for Nazarene.
Gualberto Garcia Jones, J.D.

We must open wide our doors to Iraq’s Christians

Gualberto Garcia Jones, J.D.
By Gualberto Garcia Jones J.D.

On July 18, the largest Christian community in Iraq, the Chaldean Catholics of Mosul, were given a grotesque ultimatum: leave your ancestral home, convert to Islam, or die.

All but forgotten by the 1.2 billion Catholics of the world, these last Christians who still speak Jesus’ native tongue of Aramaic and live in the land of Abraham and Jonah are being wiped out before our very eyes.

As a way of issuing a thinly-veiled threat, reminiscent of the Nazi persecution of the Jews, the Arabic letter “N” (for Nazarean) has been painted on the outside of the homes of all known Christians in Mosul.

These threats, issued by the fanatical Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) known for its bloodthirsty rampage of executions, have been taken very seriously by the several hundred thousand Christians in Mosul who have left with little more than the clothes they were wearing. 

At least most of these Christians were able to flee and find temporary protection among the Kurds in their semi-autonomous region.  However the Kurds do not have the resources to defend or shelter the Chaldean Christians for much longer.

On Monday, during an interview on Fox News, Republican U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf, who recently joined with 54 other members of the House of Representatives in a letter to President Obama asking him to act to protect these communities, stated that while Iraqi President Maliki had sent military flights to Mosul to evacuate Shiite Muslims, the US has done nothing to protect the Chaldean Christians.  Rep. Wolf also stated emphatically that President Obama has done “almost nothing” about the genocide taking place.

The silence from the White House is deafening.  But the lack of leadership from the hierarchy of the Catholic Church in America has been shocking as well.

Nevertheless, the plight of these Iraqi Christians is beginning to be taken seriously.   This is due in large part to the heroic efforts of local Iraqi religious leaders like Chaldean Patriarch Sako, who has gone on a whirlwind tour of the world to alert us all of the plight of these Iraqi Christians.  In a statement demonstrating his character, he told the Christians of Iraq last week, “We are your shepherds, and with our full responsibility towards you we will stay with you to the end, will not leave you, whatever the sacrifices.”

Before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq was launched there were approximately 1.5 to 2 million Christians living in Iraq.  Today, there are believed to be less than 200,000.  The numbers speak for themselves.

Now that the world is beginning to be aware of the genocide in Northern Iraq, many of us ask ourselves: what can we do?  As citizens and as Christians blessed to live in nations with relative peace and security, what can we do?

The answer is quite simple and unexpected.  Demand that our government and church pull its head out of the sand and follow France. Yes, France.  

Yesterday, in a heroic gesture of Christian solidarity that would make Joan of Arc proud, the government of France opened wide its doors to the persecuted Iraqi Christians.  

”France is outraged by these abuses that it condemns with the utmost firmness," Laurent Fabius, France's foreign minister, and Bernard Cazeneuve, France's interior minister, said in a joint statement on Monday.

"The ultimatum given to these communities in Mosul by ISIS is the latest tragic example of the terrible threat that jihadist groups in Iraq, but also in Syria and elsewhere, pose to these populations that are historically an integral part of this region," they added. "We are ready, if they wish, to facilitate their asylum on our soil.  We are in constant contact with local and national authorities to ensure everything is done to protect them.”

The French statement drives home three crucial elements that every government, especially the United States, should communicate immediately:

  1. Recognize the genocide and name the perpetrators and victims.

  2. Officially condemn what is happening in the strongest terms.

  3. Offer a solution that includes cooperation with local authorities but which leads by making solid commitments such as offering asylum or other forms of protection.

With regard to the Church, we should look to the Chaldean Patriarch and the Iraqi bishops who shared their expectations explicitly in an open letter to “all people of conscience in Iraq and around the world” to take “practical actions to assure our people, not merely expressions of condemnation.”  Noticeably, the last section of the letter from the Iraqi bishops, before a final prayer to God, is an expression of thanks to the Kurdish government, which has welcomed them not just with “expressions” of goodwill but, like France, with a sacrificial hospitality.

On Friday, July 25, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops did issue a statement, but unfortunately it lacked much in terms of leadership or solutions.  We should encourage our bishops to do better than that, be bolder and stronger for our persecuted brothers and sisters, name names and offer concrete sacrificial aid. In a word, be more like the French.

In 1553, Rome welcomed the Chaldean church into the fold of the Catholic Church.  Nearly 500 years later, Catholic Americans must find ways to welcome these persecuted people into our country, into our churches, and into our own homes if need be.

I say, I am with you St. Joan of Arc.   I am with you, France.  I am with you, Chaldeans!

Gualberto Garcia Jones is the Executive Director of the International Human Rights Group, a non-profit organization based in Washington, DC, that seeks to advance the fundamental rights to life, the natural family, and religious liberty through international law and international relations. 


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