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Alleged Neb. victim of anti-gay assault answers report that attack could be a hoax

Over 500 people attended a vigil held Sunday night in support for a Nebraska woman mutilated in a reported hate crime. KOLN

(CBS) LINCOLN, Neb. - A Nebraska woman who says she was the victim of an anti-gay assault that included having slurs carved into her stomach is speaking out to counter the idea that she may have staged the incident.

The alleged victim, Charlie Rogers, is an openly lesbian small business owner, who says she decided to give a TV interview about the case to respond to a report that police haven't ruled out the possibility that the attack was a hoax.

Rogers, who had not been publicly identified at first, alleges that last weekend three masked men broke into her house, carved anti-gay slurs into her skin and tried to light her house on fire, CBS affiliate KOLN reports.

When police interviewed Rogers a second time on Monday, she was unable to provide any additional information or give a suspect description. She said the door was locked before the attack, but police said there were no signs of forced entry.

Lincoln Journal Star article published Wednesday created buzz when it introduced the possibility that the hate crime report was a hoax, according to KOLN. The article reported that police said it was too early to tell whether the 33-year-old woman staged the attack.

"At this point we are investigating all aspects of the case, including the possibility that it could be a false report," said Lincoln police spokeswoman Katie Flood. "And that's not uncommon, that's something that the police department does every day in order to conduct a thorough investigation."

Rogers went public Wednesday in an interview with ABC affiliate KETV.

"I'm not hiding from this anymore," Rogers told KETV.

Rogers said doubters of her story are making her a victim all over again.

"Being a victim in a situation like this ... and then having your integrity questioned, I guess, it feels very victimizing again," Rogers said. "It makes an already difficult situation more difficult because my world has been changed forever by these events."

Rogers said she was a standout basketball player at the University of Nebraska and an avid volunteer and small-business owner. She said she hadn't spoken publicly about the attack because she didn't want to affect the police investigation, but now she wants her own voice to be heard.

News of the attack created an outpouring of support for Rogers, with more than 500 people appearing at a candlelight vigil Sunday night, KOLN reported. Victim recovery funds have also been created to assist the Lincoln woman with medical bills.

"I understand that people sort of have a hard time wrapping their heads around the things that have happened, as do I," Rogers told KETV. "But I'm a person with feelings, with concerns. For people to think that this doesn't happen here, it does. It did."

More on Crimesider
July 24, 2012 - Nebraska woman tied up, mutilated, in anti-gay hate crime, police say

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