Ben Johnson

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

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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

‘You can’t have’ marriage equality ‘without polygamy’

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne

July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Motivated by the U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing homosexual “marriage,” a Montana polygamist has filed for a second marriage license, so he can be legally wed to two women at once.

"It's about marriage equality," said Nathan Collier, using homosexual advocates’ term to support marriage redefinition. "You can't have this without polygamy."

Collier, who has has appeared on the TLC reality show Sister Wives with his legal wife Victoria, and his second wife Christine, said he was inspired by the dissent in the Supreme Court decision.

The minority Supreme Court justices said in Friday’s ruling it would open the door to both polygamy and religious persecution.

“It is striking how much of the majority’s reasoning would apply with equal force to the claim of a fundamental right to plural marriage,” wrote Chief Justice John Roberts.

Collier and his wives applied for a second marriage license earlier this week at the Yellowstone County Courthouse in Billings, a report from the Salt Lake Tribune said.

Collier, who was excommunicated from the Mormon Church for polygamy, married Victoria in 2000 and had a religious wedding ceremony with Christine in 2007. The three have seven children between them and from previous relationships.

"My second wife Christine, who I'm not legally married to, she's put up with my crap for a lot of years. She deserves legitimacy," Collier said.

Yellowstone County officials initially denied the application before saying they would consult with the County Attorney and get him a final answer.

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Bigamy, the holding of multiple marriage licenses, is illegal all 50 states, but Collier plans to sue if his application is denied. Officials expect to have an answer for him next week.

While homosexual “marriage” supporters have long insisted legalization of same-sex unions would not lead to polygamy, pro-life and family advocates have warned all along it would be inevitable with the redefinition of marriage.

“The next court cases coming will push for polygamy, as Chief Justice John Roberts acknowledged in his dissent,” said Penny Nance, president of Concerned Women for America, after the Supreme Court ruling. “The chief justice said “the argument for polygamy is actually stronger than that for ‘gay marriage.’ It’s only a matter of time.”

In a piece from the Washington Times, LifeSiteNews Editor-in-Chief and the co-founder of Voice of the Family John-Henry Westen stated the move toward legal polygamy is “just the next step in unraveling how Americans view marriage.”

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Chris Christie: Clerks must perform same-sex ‘marriages’ regardless of their religious beliefs

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By Ben Johnson

TRENTON, NJ, July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Chris Christie is not known for nuance. This time, he has turned his fiery personality loose on county clerks and other officials who have religious objections to performing same-sex “marriages.”

In a tone usually reserved for busting teachers' unions, Christie told clerks who hold traditional values, “You took the job, and you took the oath.” He would offer no exemption for an individual whose conscience would not allow him to participate in a union the vast majority of the world's religions deem sinful.

“When you go back and re-read the oath it doesn’t give you an out. You have to do it,” he said.

He told a reporter that there “might” be “individual circumstances” that “merit some examination, but none that come immediately to mind for me.”

“I think for folks who are in the government world, they kind of have to do their job, whether you agree with the law or you don’t,” the pugnacious governor said.

Since the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to legalize homosexual “marriage” last Friday, elected officials have grappled with how to safeguard the rights of those who have deeply held religious beliefs that would not allow them to participate in such a ceremony.

Christie's response differs markedly from other GOP hopefuls' responses to the Supreme Court ruling. Mike Huckabee, for instance, has specifically said that clerks should have conscience rights. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal signed an executive order granting such rights and ordered clerks to wait until a pending court case was fully adjudicated before any clerk issues a marriage license to a homosexual couple.

Christie gave up a legal appeal after a superior court judge struck down his state's voter-approved constitutional marriage protection amendment. New Jersey is the only state where such a low court overturned the will of the voters.

The decision to ignore conscience rights adds to the growing number of Christie's positions that give conservatives pause.

The natural locus of support for a Christie 2016 presidential run is the Republican's socially liberal donor class, for personal as well as political reasons. His wife works on Wall Street, and some of the GOP's high-dollar donors – including Paul Singer – have courted Christie for years.

However, this year Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, and to a lesser degree Scott Walker have eclipsed Christie as the preferred candidates of the boardroom donors – who sometimes prefer Democrats to Republicans.

Christie also used language during a speech before the Republican Jewish Coalition last year, which concerned some major GOP donors.

Christie is reportedly spending this weekend with Mitt Romney and his family at Romney's New Hampshire home. Romney declined to enter the 2016 race himself and may be able to open his donor list to Christie's struggling campaign.

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After having a girl with Down syndrome, this couple adopted two more

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By Ben Johnson

LINO LAKE, MN, July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – For most people, having five biological children would have been enough. In fact, for many Americans, large families are treated as a scandal or a burden.

But one family made the decision, not just to have a large family, but to give a home to some of the most vulnerable children in the world: Girls born overseas with Down syndrome.

Lee and Karen Shervheim love all seven of their children, biological or otherwise. Undeterred by having twin boys – Daniel and Andrew, 18 – they had Sam four years later.

They now have three daughters who are all 11 years old. All three have Down syndrome.

And two of them are adopted.

About the time their eight-year-old son, David, was born, Lee and Karen decided to adopt a child with Down syndrome to be a companion to their daughter, Annie.

They made the further unexpected choice to adopt a child from Eastern Europe with the help of Reece's Rainbow, which helps parents adopt children with Down syndrome.

“Between my wife and I, we couldn’t get it out of our heads,” Lee told the Quad City Press. “So many children need families and we knew we could potentially do something about it.”

After originally deciding to adopt Katie, they spent six weeks in Kiev, visiting an orphanage in nearby Kharkov. While there, they decided they may have room in their heart, and their home, for another child.

When they saw a picture of Emie striking the same pose as their biological daughter in one of their photographs, they knew they would come home with two children.

Both girls were the same age as their Annie. She would not lack for companionship, as they worried.

Lee said after the Ukrainian government – finally – completed the paperwork, they returned to the United States, when the real challenges began.

“The unvarnished truth,” Lee told the Press, is that adopting the Russian-speaking special needs children “was really disruptive to our family. They came with so many issues that we had not anticipated.”

After teaching them sign language and appropriate behavior, they moved to Lino Lake, Minnesota and found a new support group in Eagle Brook Church. There they found personal assistance and spiritual solace.

Every year in the past seven years has been better and better, they say.

“I think my girls can do almost anything they want to do,” he said, “and that’s what I want to help them become.”

The family's devotion is fueled by their faith, and it informs the sense of humor Lee showed in a tweet during the 2014 midterm elections:

It takes a special person to believe in the potential of the “mentally retarded,” as they were once labeled. Today, 90 percent of all babies diagnosed with Down syndrome in the womb will be aborted. The percentage is higher in some countries. Some have even spoken of "a world without people with Down syndrome."

Their God, and their experience, tell them that every child has infinite worth and potential, Lee told local media, and he would encourage anyone to follow his footsteps and adopt a Down syndrome child – or two.

“The message is that it really doesn’t matter where you started or where you came from,” Lee said. “There are endless opportunities for everyone, whether they have disabilities or not. They deserve a shot.”

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