LINCOLN, Neb. — A former University of Nebraska women's basketball star faked an attack in which she is said to have carved anti-gay slurs into her skin because she felt it would spark change, police said Tuesday.
Four days before Charlie Rogers crawled naked and bleeding from her Lincoln home, screaming for help, she outlined in a Facebook posting what investigators think was her motive for faking the July 22 attack, Police Chief Jim Peschong said at a news conference.
"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," read the July 18 posting, according to police.
Furthermore, genetic testing on evidence gathered at the crime scene undermines Ms. Rogers' account of what happened, Chief Peschong said.
Ms. Rogers, 33, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to making a false police report and was released on her own recognizance. She didn't respond to a message seeking comment left Tuesday at a number listed as hers, but her attorney, Brett McArthur, said she maintains the attack happened and plans to vigorously defend herself.
"This has been a very traumatic event for her, and having the focus of the investigation turn toward her has been really hard," said Mr. McArthur, who described Ms. Rogers as reserved and soft-spoken, and not the type to seek attention.
"She has no reason to lie about what happened. She's pretty devastated, when you go to authorities and things kind of get turned around on you," he said.
Ms. Rogers, a lesbian who ranks second all-time in blocked shots for the Cornhuskers, reported the attack amid a charged debate in Lincoln over the city's proposed "fairness ordinance," which would ban discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. The City Council approved the ordinance in May 5-0, but two conservative groups gathered enough signatures to force a popular vote on it before it can take effect.
According to police, Ms. Rogers said three masked men broke into her home, and that one of them pinned her down while another sliced a cross into her chest, cut the front of her thighs and shins and carved derogatory words in her arms and abdomen. She said they then rolled her onto her stomach and cut her buttocks, the back of her thighs and the back of her right calf. She also said they tried to burn down her house.
Ms. Rogers crawled from her home naked, bleeding and screaming for help, a neighbor told police. The community's gay community responded swiftly, and hundreds turned out for a rally that weekend outside the state Capitol.
On Tuesday, four Nebraska gay-rights groups that followed the case released a joint statement crediting police for conducting what they think was a balanced and thorough investigation.
"It is important not to focus on the actions of any single individual," the groups said in the statement. "As residents of Lincoln, we must continue to bring our community together to declare that violence and hate are not the values of our city."
According to Chief Peschong, police found a pile of clothes, white knit gloves and a red box cutter on the living room floor after the reported attack. Ms. Rogers said the gloves didn't belong to her, but investigators determined that a lot of the DNA found inside the glove was Ms. Rogers' and that none of it came from a male.
Chief Peschong said investigators discovered that Ms. Rogers deleted numerous text messages she had sent the evening of the incident, and that she bought cotton gloves, a box cutter and zip ties from an Ace Hardware store in Lincoln on July 17. All of the items were later found in her house, he said. When confronted about the evidence weeks later, he said, Ms. Rogers admitted to purchasing all of the items except the gloves.