OMAHA, Nebraska (CNN) — An alleged victim of a hate crime in Nebraska spoke out for the first time Thursday, the same day that more than a thousand people rallied in support of the victim that police say was assaulted by masked men who carved homophobic slurs into her body.
“I can’t adequately express how much it has meant to me that people are standing with me and people are standing for me,” Charlie Rogers, 33, said in an interview with CNN affiliate KETV.
Three masked men allegedly bound Rogers and carved the words into her skin Sunday, police in Lincoln, Nebraska, said. The incident has been classified as a hate crime because derogatory terms for lesbians that were used, said Officer Katie Flood, a spokeswoman for the Lincoln Police Department.
Rogers said she had tried to keep her identity secret after the incident. But she decided to go public Thursday because there have been allegations that the attack did not happen.
“For people to think this doesn’t happen here, it does. It did,” Rogers told the affiliate.
Rogers’ attorney, Megan Mikolajczyk, told CNN Rogers wanted to make it clear it was not “a hoax.” Asked if there was anyone specific they were addressing, Mikolajczyk said there was not, but that she wasn’t surprised there were naysayers.
“I don’t think it’s safe or necessary to point the finger at any one individual,” Mikolajczyk said. “I think its par for the course for any sort of high profile incident for people to question what happened.”
More than a thousand people gathered at a vigil in Omaha Thursday evening in support of Rogers.
After the attack on Sunday, Rogers was able to escape and run to her neighbors’ home. The neighbor, Linda Rappl, said she was horrified at Rogers’ injuries.
“I was in shock,” Rappl said. “She was naked, her hands were tied with zip ties. All I could see was a cut across her forehead and blood running down.”
By Chris Welch – CNN
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