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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Lisa Bourne

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Pressure mounts as Catholic Relief Services fails to act on VP in gay ‘marriage’

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne
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Rick Estridge, Catholic Relief Services' Vice President of Overseas Finance, is in a same-sex "marriage," public records show. Twitter

BALTIMORE, MD, April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- Nearly a week after news broke that a Catholic Relief Services vice president had contracted a homosexual “marriage” while also publicly promoting homosexuality on social media in conflict with Church teaching, the US Bishops international relief agency has taken no apparent steps to address the matter and is also not talking.

CRS Vice President of Overseas Finance Rick Estridge entered into a homosexual “marriage” in Maryland the same month in 2013 that he was promoted by CRS to vice president, public records show.

Despite repeated efforts at a response, CRS has not acknowledged LifeSiteNews’ inquiries during the week. And the agency told ChurchMilitant.com Thursday that no action had been taken beyond discussion of the situation and CRS would have no further comment.

"Nothing has changed,” CRS Senior Manager for Communications Tom said. “No further statement will be made."

LifeSiteNews first contacted CRS for a response prior to the April 20 release of the report and did not receive a reply, however Estridge’s Facebook and LinkeIn profiles were then removed just prior to the report’s release.

CRS also did not acknowledge LifeSiteNews’ follow-up inquiry later in the week.

“Having an executive who publicly celebrates a moral abomination shows the ineffectiveness of CRS' Catholic identity training,” Lepanto Institute President Michael Hichborn told LifeSiteNews. “How many others who hate Catholic moral teaching work at CRS?”

CRS did admit it was aware Estridge was in a “same-sex civil marriage” to Catholic News Agency (CNA) Monday afternoon, and confirmed he was VP of Overseas Finance and had been with CRS for 16 years.

“At this point we are in deliberations on this matter,” Price told CNA that day.

ChurchMilitant.com also reported that according to its sources, it was a well-known fact at CRS headquarters in Baltimore that Estridge was in a homosexual “marriage.” 

“There is no way CRS didn't know one of its executives entered into a mock-marriage until we broke the story,” Hichborn said. “The implication is clear; CRS top brass had no problem with having an executive so deliberately flouting Catholic moral teaching.”

“The big question is,” Hichborn continued, “what other morally repugnant matters is CRS comfortable with?”

While the wait continues for the Bishops’ relief organization to address the matter, those behind the report and other critics of prior instances of CRS involvement in programs and groups that violate Church principles continue to call for a thorough and independent review of the agency programs and personnel.

“How long should it take to call an employee into your office, tell him that his behavior is incompatible with the mission of the organization, and ask for his resignation?” asked Population Research Institute President Steven Mosher. “About thirty minutes, I would say.”

“The Catholic identity of CRS is at stake,” Hichborn stated. “If CRS does nothing, then there is no way faithful Catholics can trust the integrity of CRS's programs or desire to make its Catholicity preeminent.” 

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Thousands of marriage activists gathered in D.C. June 19, 2014 for the 2nd March for Marriage. Dustin Siggins / LifeSiteNews.com
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Watch the March for Marriage online—only at LifeSiteNews

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WASHINGTON, D.C., April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- At noon on Saturday, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and dozens of cosponsors, coalition partners, and speakers will launch the third annual March for Marriage. Thousands of people are expected to take place in this important event to show the support real marriage has among the American people.

As the sole media sponsor of the March, LifeSiteNews is proud to exclusively livestream the March. Click here to see the rally at noon Eastern Time near the U.S. Capitol, and the March to the Supreme Court at 1:00 Eastern Time.

And don't forget to pray that God's Will is done on Tuesday, when the Supreme Court hears arguments about marriage!

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Hillary Clinton: ‘Religious beliefs’ against abortion ‘have to be changed’

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By Ben Johnson

NEW YORK CITY, April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Speaking to an influential gathering in New York City on Thursday, Hillary Clinton declared that “religious beliefs” that condemn "reproductive rights," “have to be changed.”

“Yes, we've cut the maternal mortality rate in half, but far too many women are still denied critical access to reproductive health,” Hillary told the Women in the World Summit yesterday.

Liberal politicians use “reproductive health” as a blanket term that includes abortion. However, Hillary's reference echoes National Organization for Women (NOW) president Terry O’Neill's op-ed from last May that called abortion “an essential measure to prevent the heartbreak of infant mortality.”

The Democratic presidential hopeful added that governments should throw the power of state coercion behind the effort to redefine traditional religious dogmas.

“Rights have to exist in practice, not just on paper. Laws have to be backed up with resources, and political will,” she said. “Deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs, and structural biases have to be changed.”

The line received rousing applause at the feminist conference, hosted in Manhattan's Lincoln Center by Tina Brown.

She also cited religious-based objections to the HHS mandate, funding Planned Parenthood, and the homosexual and transgender agenda as obstacles that the government must defeat.

“America moves ahead when all women are guaranteed the right to make their own health care choices, not when those choices are taken away by an employer like Hobby Lobby,” she said. The Supreme Court ruled last year that closely held corporations had the right to opt out of the provision of ObamaCare requiring them to provide abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives, and sterilization to employees with no co-pay – a mandate that violates the teachings of the Catholic Church and other Christian bodies.

Clinton lamented that “there are those who offer themselves as leaders...who would defund the country's leading provider of family planning,” Planned Parenthood, “and want to let health insurance companies once again charge women just because of our gender.”

“We move forward when gay and transgender women are embraced...not fired from good jobs because of who they love or who they are,” she added.

It is not the first time the former first lady had said that liberal social policies should displace religious views. In a December 2011 speech in Geneva, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said perhaps the “most challenging issue arises when people cite religious or cultural values as a reason to violate or not to protect the human rights of LGBT citizens.” These objections, she said, are “not unlike the justification offered for violent practices towards women like honor killings, widow burning, or female genital mutilation.”

While opinions on homosexuality are “still evolving,” in time “we came to learn that no [religious] practice or tradition trumps the human rights that belong to all of us.”

Her views, if outside the American political mainstream, have been supported by the United Nations. The UN Population Fund stated in its 2012 annual report that religious objections to abortion-inducing drugs had to be overcome. According to the UNFPA report, “‘duty-bearers’ (governments and others)” have a responsibility to assure that all forms of contraception – including sterilization and abortion-inducing ‘emergency contraception’ – are viewed as acceptable – “But if they are not acceptable for cultural, religious or other reasons, they will not be used.”

Two years later, the United Nations' Committee on the Rights of the Child instructed the Vatican last February that the Catholic Church should amend canon law “relating to abortion with a view to identifying circumstances under which access to abortion services may be permitted.”

At Thursday's speech, Hillary called the legal, state-enforced implementation of feminist politics “the great unfinished business of the 21st century,” which must be accomplished “not just for women but for everyone — and not just in far away countries but right here in the United States.”

“These are not just women's fights. These have to be America's fights and the world's fights,” she said. “There's still much to be done in our own country, much more to be done around the world, but I'm confident and optimistic that if we get to work, we will get it done together.”

American critics called Clinton's suggestion that a nation founded upon freedom of religion begin using state force to change religious practices unprecedented.

“Never before have we seen a presidential candidate be this bold about directly confronting the Catholic Church's teachings on abortion,” said Bill Donohue of the Catholic League.

“In one sense, this shows just how extreme the pro-abortion caucus actually is,” Ed Morrissey writes at HotAir.com. “Running for president on the basis of promising to use the power of government to change 'deep seated cultural codes [and] religious beliefs' might be the most honest progressive slogan in history.”

He hoped that, now that she had called for governments to change religious doctrines, “voters will now see the real Hillary Clinton, the one who dismisses their faith just the same as Obama did, and this time publicly rather than in a private fundraiser.”

Donohue asked Hillary “to take the next step and tell us exactly what she plans to do about delivering on her pledge. Not only would practicing Catholics like to know, so would Evangelicals, Orthodox Jews, Muslims, and all those who value life from conception to natural death.”

You may watch Hillary's speech below.

Her comments on religion begin at approximately 9:00. 

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