LINCOLN — Charlie Rogers received 24 months of probation, including seven days in jail, Thursday for falsely reporting that she had been the victim of a hate crime.
The sentence includes an additional 90 days in jail if Rogers does not successfully complete probation.
Rogers tearfully hugged family and friends after the sentence was handed down by Lancaster County Judge Gale Pokorny.
The former Husker basketball player declined to comment, as did her mother.
Rogers, 34, pleaded no contest in December to the misdemeanor charge of false reporting.
The charge stems from a July incident in which she reported that three masked men had broken into her Lincoln home, stripped her and cut anti-gay slurs into her arms, abdomen and legs before trying to set the house on fire.
She said the attackers told her they were targeting her because she was a lesbian.
The prosecutor, Patrick Condon, argued against probation, saying her report affected the entire community of Lincoln and especially its lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender residents.
He noted the outpouring of support for her and the amount of time and resources that local and federal law enforcement had put into investigating her report.
But her attorney, Brett McArthur, said Rogers had no previous criminal history and has been getting treatment to address the issues that led to the report.
He also said she had saved the expense of a trial by agreeing to a plea.
Pokorny explained his rationale for the sentence at length, starting with the observation that he had never seen such outpouring of community support as that following Rogers' report.
Rallies and vigils in Lincoln and Omaha drew hundreds to send a message of tolerance.
People from around the country offered support on social media.
The judge then reviewed the evidence collected by law enforcement, which eventually led them to charge her.
“After reading these police reports, I am convinced that Charlie Rogers' narrative was an incredible and outrageous lie,” Pokorny said.
He added that, to the extent she was motivated to further gay rights, “it blew up in her face.”
As part of the conditions of probation, Pokorny ordered Rogers to get a full-time job and complete 250 hours of community service with the Lincoln parks.
He also ordered her to return all donations for which the giver was known and to use the rest to reimburse the Lincoln Police Department for its costs.
Rogers could have received a maximum penalty of one year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
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